ECI proposes 150p private equity counter-bid for WIN
ECI Partners, the private equity investment group that was recently involved in the collapse of i-level (see Private equity investor secured cost of i-level shares on the group’s assets), has announced that it is willing to pay 150p per share in cash to acquire the AIM listed mobile content technology specialist WIN and merge it with Mobile Interactive Group (“MIG”), subject to various pre-conditions.
WIN’s directors had previously recommended an alternative 141p offer by the Indian group IMI Mobile (see WIN board recommends 141p offer despite ISIS protest). Following the ECI approach last Friday, the WIN board reiterated its recommendation to shareholders to accept the IMI Mobile bid, stating that the potential ECI offer was subject to due diligence and that there could be no certainty that a formal offer would eventually be made.
MIG was founded by its chief executive Barry Houlihan in 2004. He held 19% of the company’s shares in February this year. Chairman Roger Keenan owned 17%, business angel John Peter Williams owned 16.4% and co-founder Anthony Nelson owned 16.2%. The rest of the shares were owned by 15 other individuals, including various staff members.
In the year to 30 April 2009 Mobile Interactive Group made a reduced post-tax profit of £330,000 on much increased turnover of £68 million.
ECI gave no indication of its intentions regarding the management of the group if a bid were to be successful, but it seems likely to support a MIG-led boardroom invasion, leaving WIN chief executive Graham Rivers’ position in some doubt.
ECI intimated that its potential offer would be funded by equity capital rather than debt – presumably intended to allay any fears that WIN’s balance sheet might be loaded up with onerous borrowings if its offer were to succeed.
© Fintellect Ltd