Saatchi receives rival offer
London's rush of deals continues. Marketing agency M&C Saatchi (SAA) has accepted a £310mn bid from competitor Next Fifteen Communications (NFC). This is a blow to M&C Saatchi deputy chairwoman and serial tech investor Vin Murria, who has been attempting to take over the company through acquisition vehicle AdvancedAdvT (ADVT) since January.
At no point was M&C Saatchi’s board impressed with the cash and share offer Murria put on the table and on Wednesday it erupted into full hostile takeover when Murria circumvented the board and went directly to shareholders.
AdvT made an offer of 40p a share in cash plus 2.043 AdvT shares which implied a total value of 207.5p per M&C Saatchi share. Together Murria and AdvT own 22 per cent of M&C Saatchi.
M&C Saatchi chair Gareth Davis said the offer was "derisory” and urged shareholders to rejected the bid “as it significantly undervalues the business and prospects of M&C Saatchi”. Most damningly M&C Saatchi accused AdvT of not recognising the potential of the business but instead only having a strategy of “financial engineering and M&A”.
The board-backed cash and share offer from Next Fifteen values M&C Saatchi at 247.5p per share which is a 49.8 per cent premium to the last closing price. It is largely a share-based offer, coming down to 40p in cash and 0.1637 Next Fifteen shares per M&C Saatchi share held.
The M&C Saatchi board has therefore advised shareholders to “take no action in respect of the AdvT offer”. Davis said the Next Fifteen offer implied "a value for M&C Saatchi that represents a significant premium to recent trading levels" and gave shareholders "an opportunity to crystallise value and to benefit from the potential future upside of the enlarged group". AS
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THG rejects £2bn takeover bid
The Hut Group (THG) has rejected a £2.07bn takeover bid from a consortium of Belerion Capital and King Street Capital Management, as numerous private equity suitors circle the cut-price tech firm. The preliminary offer for 170p per share “significantly undervalued the company and its future prospects”, said the online retailing outfit, despite the fact that the deal offered a 46 per cent premium over the share price at market close on Thursday.
The news prompted a 25 per cent jump in shares, with the Look Fantastic owner separately stating it had received interest from Candy Ventures. The investment firm owned by property giant Nick Candy, is “in the very early stages” of an offer to take THG private, while Advent International, Leonard Green Partners and Apollo have also shown interest in the past.
Founder Matthew Moulding has been open about his regret over floating the business in 2020, saying THG’s time as a public company has “just sucked from start to finish”, with shares devaluing to under a third of the flotation price of 500p. The firm’s shares have suffered from governance concerns over Moulding’s position as both executive chair and chief executive, coupled with difficulties in valuing its tech business. MT
Playtech takeover discussions still ongoing
Playtech (PTEC) said that TTB Partners Limited is still considering an offer for the company, and that takeover discussions have been ongoing for 15 weeks.
The gambling software business revealed that “discussions between the company and TTB are ongoing and progress continues to be made”. TTB has until 17 June to confirm if it will make an offer.
Playtech confirmed in February that it had been approached by TTB about a possible offer. Before that, the company’s shareholders turned down an offer from Australian gaming content and technology company Aristocrat (AU:ALL) for the entire share capital of the company at 680p per share.
The company also said that the “strong performance” announced in its recent trading update on the first four months of 2022 “has continued through the month of April and into the month of May”. The shares were up by more than 8 per cent in morning trading. CA
Taylor Wimpey shakes up gender balance of board with two appointments
Taylor Wimpey (TW) has further altered the gender balance of its board by appointing two independent non-executive directors. Clodagh Moriarty and Mark Castle will join the housebuilder with effect from 2 June. Shares in the company were up 3 per cent today. Moriarty is retail and digital director at Sainsbury’s (SBRY). She started her career at Bain & Company and since then has held a range of positions at the supermarket chain. Castle is a non-executive director of construction company Mace Group and property technology company Eleco (ELCO). He is also non-executive chairman of Triangle Group, a private equity backed fire safety business. Moriarty and Castle’s appointments will change the male to female ratio of the board of directors from 4:3 to 5:4.
The appointments come after Jennie Daly was appointed chief executive of the company back in February. Her appointment made the company the only major housebuilder to have women in the top two roles – with Irene Dorner having been appointed chairman in February 2020.Dorner said Moriarty was chosen for her “strategic, digital and customer-focused experience” while Castle was chosen for his “deep operational knowledge of the construction sector”. ML