Optimal soars after Skrill takeover given green light

Optimal soars after Skrill takeover given green light

Wednesday, August 5, 2015
Share price rockets following confirmation of deal

Optimal Payments has seen its share price rocket after its reverse takeover of Skrill was given the go-ahead by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The regulator’s approval comes after Neteller owner Optimal announced an agreement in March to acquire Skrill, owner of Paysafecard, and its parent company Sentinel Topco for approximately €1.1bn ($1.2bn), with the deal expected to be completed on August 10. 

Optimal saw its share price up by more than 10 per cent in the 24 hours following the news on Monday, with the AIM-listed company now focussed on joining the FTSE 250.

Earlier this year, TotallyGaming.com reported that Optimal was keen to secure the deal in a bid to reduce its reliance on a single unnamed gaming operator from which it generated 37 per cent of its revenue in 2014.

“The enlarged Optimal Payments, on completion, will become a leading player in the markets we serve and create additional opportunities for further profitable growth,” Optimal’s president and chief executive, Joel Leonoff, said.

Optimal recorded EBITDA of $86.1m and revenue of $365m in 2014, while Skrill reported a core profit of $89m and currently has around 36 million account holders.

As the acquisition is classified as a reverse takeover under AIM Rule 14, all pre-completion existing ordinary shares will be cancelled. Optimal said that applications have been made for the immediate re-admission of those shares and the admission of the Skrill consideration shares to trading on AIM.

Meanwhile, Stephen Shaper, a non-executive director of Optimal, has notified the company of his decision to step down from the board with immediate effect.

"On a personal note, I'd like to extend my gratitude to Steve for his significant contribution to the growth and outstanding success at Optimal Payments,” said Leonoff. “Steve has a long history with Optimal as he served as a board member on the earliest iteration of the business, Surefire Commerce.

“Over the years Steve has become a mentor, friend and trusted advisor to the executive team. We wish Steve the best of luck in his future endeavours and continued success in his pursuits.”

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