Not everyone appears to be delighted by AIM-listed property portal OnTheMarket’s looming takeover by US real estate firm CoStar.
Earlier this week, OnTheMarket, which has struggled to make a name for itself against the likes of Rightmove and Zoopla, published the official scheme documents for its agreed takeover by CoStar through a 110p-per-share cash acquisition.
The offer price represents nearly a 100% premium to the average market price in the three months prior to the deal announcement, but would-be activist investor Brett Stone wasn’t having it.
Despite the premium, CoStar’s offer ‘significantly undervalues’ OnTheMarket, according to Stone, who noted that the £99 million bid is a mere 2.9-times multiple to OnTheMarket’s trailing 12 months revenues.
Stone has priors with OnTheMarket’s management, having unsuccessfully attempted to take out a £50 million activist stake in the company back in July.
Earlier this week, OnTheMarket published the official scheme documents for its agreed takeover by CoStar through a 110p-per-share cash acquisition
‘My goal is for OnTheMarket and all stakeholders to be better informed and better off,’ he said at the time of his activist campaign.
OnTheMarket refuted the claims that CoStar’s takeover bid was a bad one and that it’s likely to result in significantly higher total portal costs for UK estate agents.
It feels like a done deal, and OnTheMarket’s shares have reflected that, rising over 77% since the takeover announcement on October 19.
The AIM-All Share Index closed 4.5 points higher at 702.12 this week, marking 0.66% worth of gains and outperforming the lead index.
There was little to move the dial, though a positive start to Wall Street on Thursday fed through to some late-week buoyancy in the London capital markets.
Friday’s UK economy figures failed to excite, with the gross domestic product print showing modest growth.
The ONS said monthly real GDP grew 0.2% in September, following growth of 0.1% in August, which was revised down from growth of 0.2% before.
Blue chips had a poor reaction to the numbers, with the FTSE 100 falling sharply in early-Friday trades and ultimately closing the week in the red.
eEnergy Group surged to the top of the AIM movers table this week following news of a £1.75 million investment electronics supplier from Luceco plc.
Luceco will have the right to nominate a member to the net-zero energy services provider’s board.
Luceco said that the ‘continuing trend towards clean energy technologies offers an opportunity to expand its offering into developing categories’ and expects ‘increased cooperation between our businesses’.
The investment was music to eEnergy’s shareholders’ ears, with shares charging more than 50% higher this week.
Naked Wines shares fell 35% following Tuesday’s announcement that chief executive Nick Devlin was stepping down with immediate effect.
His resignation was announced in tandem with an interim trading statement exposing a 20% year-on-year decline in US sales, causing a downward revision in full-year sales.
Founder and chairman Rowan Gormley, who has stepped up to the executive plate in the meantime, bade Devlin well.
‘Naked Wines revenue has grown 50% since he took the CEO role, and Nick leaves with a lot of the hard turnaround work completed, including testing some exciting improvements to our customer proposition, which we are testing at scale right now,’ Gormley said of Devlin. ‘He goes with our best wishes.’
There was another notable resignation in the junior market, when foreign exchange company Argentex’s chief financial officer Jo Stent stepped down from the board with immediate effect on Thursday.
Just two weeks earlier, founding chief executive Harry Adams headed for the exit.
This Friday, Argentex revealed that full-year revenues and operating profit would be below current forecasts. Shares were off 24% as a result.
Fusion Antibodies tumbled by a quarter as it said an expected upturn in investment in new drug discovery and development programmes had not occurred.
Trading conditions remain very challenging, it added, with the result that revenue this half is behind current market expectations, at not less than £541,000.
Advanced materials microcap Versarien’s shares were off nearly 50% this week, though this was on the back of a successful £455,000 share placing.
‘As we have previously announced, the company requires further funding to continue its turnaround strategy and we welcome the investor interest in this placing,’ said Versarian chief executive Stephen Hodge.
Speaking of turnarounds, data and analytics business Merit Group‘s shares surged by a third on Thursday after turning a pre-tax interim profit of £500,000 after generating a £300,000 loss last year.
Moving into the heavy industries, Rainbow Rare Earths rallied 28% after the US government-backed key metals investor TechMet took an option over Rainbow’s Phalaborwa project in South Africa, valuing it between $151 million and $333 million (£123 million and £272 million).
Anglo Asian Mining shares jumped over 40% after confirming an agreement with the Azerbaijan government that will allow it to reopen the processing plant at its Gedabek gold and copper mine.
The miner had to halt production while an investigation into its tailings dam was carried out by consultant Micon.
Riverstone Energy shares traded 10% higher as it is set to exit its position in Canadian shale firm Hammerhead, which has agreed to be bought by Crescent Point Energy Corp in a US$1.86 billion deal.
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