TradeMe Gives Green Light on $2.4 Billion Takeover Bid

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By Published On: December 12, 20180 Comments

The New Zealand-based marketplace has reportedly accepted a $2.4 billion bid for a 100 percent stake in the online business.

At the end of November, TradeMe revealed it had received a $1.73 billion dollar takeover bid from London-based equity group, Apax Partners, resulting in a bidding war between the British firm and rival suitors, Hellman & Friedman.

Now, TradeMe has confirmed that it’s accepted a $2.4 billion bid from Apax and is entering a scheme implementation agreement. “The Apax Funds have increased their offer price since the indicative proposal, following the completion of their due diligence,” TradeMe Chairman, David Kirk said.

“After careful consideration, the board has unanimously concluded that this offer is consistent with our efforts to deliver maximum value for shareholders,” Kirk continued.

Under the agreement, TradeMe will only relinquish control of the marketplace to Apax if an independent advisor recommends the deal and “in the absence of a superior proposal”. This means that TradeMe can still accept an offer from US-based private equity group, Hellman & Friedman if the firm swoops in with a higher bid. According to TradeMe, Hellman & Friedman is still completing their due diligence.

Apax made an initial offer of NZ$6.40 a share last month, giving it permission from the TradeMe board to complete due diligence to “facilitate a binding offer”. Hellman & Friedman also put in a non-indicative offer last week for NZ$6.45 a share, which Apax has now matched. This bid represents a 27 percent premium to the business’s share price when Apax made its initial offer last month, with TradeMe shares sitting at NZ$6.35 when the market closed on Tuesday evening.

The shareholder vote on the scheme to approve the sale of TradeMe to Apax Partners is expected to take place in April 2019.

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Heather Bone