After three extensions, Goals Soccer Centre (LSE:GOAL) announced today it has finally reached the agreed amount for a possible takeover of the company by a Canada-based pension plan company for £73.1 million.
The offer was made nearly three months after the company confirmed press speculations that the company is in talks with the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board (OTPP), reported on 2nd April.
The offer puts a premium of 34% to the 107.5 pence closing price of Goals’ share on 30th March 2012, the last business day prior to the “preliminary approach” made by OTPP.
In a statement, OTPP said Goals is an “attractive platform” given its “relatively stable financial performance and continued growth at a time of difficult economic conditions in the UK”.
The operator of 43 5-a-side soccer centres in the UK have steadily increased its revenue from £20 million in 2007 to over £30 million in 2011, a 50% increase in five years’ time.
Profit after tax has also risen from £4.89 million to £6.87 million during the same period.
“We believe that this will be a win-win for investors, employees and the thousands of players who enjoy using Goals’ facilities each week,” commented Jo Taylor, Vice President and Senior Representative of Teachers’ Private Capital, the investment arm of OTPP.
However, the announcement prompted Patron Sports Holding, owner of 5-a-side operator Powerleague, to issue a statement regarding the bid, which already has the nod of the independent directors of Goal.
“Patron confirms that it is still considering its options in respect of GSC and urges GSC shareholders to take no action,” was Patron’s response, which made whispers of a bidding war.
Both Goals and Patron confirmed press speculations on 2nd July 2012 of a possible offer for Goals, with Patron saying it is “currently considering its option”.
The independent directors of Goals, who have already issued irrevocable undertakings in respect of 1.9% interest in the company, intend to unanimously recommend OTPP’s offer as “there is no current certainty that an offer by or on behalf of Patron will be forthcoming”.
Sir Rodney Walker, Chairman of Goals, also commented:
“The Offer…provides Goals Shareholders with certainty in a difficult economic environment, where significant execution risks remain around consumer facing businesses.”
In total, OTPP already received irrevocable undertakings and letters of intent with respect to 27% of all the issue capital stock of Goals.
The deal will be effected through a Court-sanctioned scheme expected to be completed by September 2012.
Goals Soccer Centre plc is an AIM-quoted operator of 5-a-side soccer centres in the UK and the US.
At 1:45 PM GMT, shares were up 10% to 148.5 pence, 4.5 pence more than the 144 pence offered to the table.
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