Access Industries steps up Perform takeover bid

Access Industries steps up Perform takeover bid

Friday, October 3, 2014

Access Industries, the private investment group owned by billionaire Len Blavatnik, has stepped up its bid to take full control of digital sports media company Perform, which operates extensively in the betting and gaming industry.

Access Industries confirmed in a statement today (Friday) that it had become the controlling shareholder in Perform after taking its stake in the company above the 50% threshold.

UK-based Perform, which operates sports betting services such as real-time sports data provider RunningBall and the Watch&Bet live streaming service, has acquired several companies, including sports data firm Opta, since its flotation on the London Stock Exchange in 2011.

AI PG, a subsidiary of Access Industries, tabled a final cash offer of 260p per share for Perform just over a month ago, valuing the company at about £700m (€885m/$1.2bn). Another subsidiary of Access Industries, PVT, already owned 42.5% of Perform before the takeover bid was launched.

Access Industries has been buying up shares on the open market in recent days, and the company said today that it had acquired just over 7.5% to reach the 50% mark.

Having reached the threshold, Access Industries will be obliged to acquire all shares offered to it by shareholders who take up the offer of 260p per share, and will confirm the “unconditional” offer by October 7. At that point, the offer to current shareholders is likely to remain open for two weeks.

A source told TotallyGaming.com today that Access Industries remains committed to its original plan, as specified in its initial offer for the company, that it would delist Perform if its shareholding surpasses 75%.

Last month, Perform urged its shareholders to reject the offer, claiming that it undervalued the company. However, it told its staff today that they were free to sell their shares if they wish.

When the original takeover bid was confirmed, Access Industries chief executive Lincoln Benet said: “We continue to have confidence in Perform’s management and in the company's future potential.”

Last December, Perform’s market capitalisation slumped by more than 50% in a single trading session after the company said that annual earnings would be significantly below expectations.

In the first half of 2014, Perform reported year-on-year growth of 29% to £118.8m and said it is “on track” to deliver full-year revenue and adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation in line with the board's expectations.

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