Top 20 shareholders line up to oppose takeover of London-listed events organiser Hyve Group by US private equity predators
Top 20 shareholders have lined up to oppose the takeover of London-listed events organiser Hyve Group by US private equity predators.
Investors M&G, Redwheel, and Blackmoor Investment Partners have spoken out against the £481m deal that would see yet another company disappear from the London stock market.
Together they hold around 17 per cent of voting power, throwing the takeover into doubt.
US-based Providence Equity Partners agreed to pay 108p per share for Hyve last month, valuing the company behind trade shows such as Pure London at £481m.
The dissenting investors pose a legitimate threat to Providence’s bid, which requires a 75 per cent vote in favour.
Opposition: US-based Providence Equity Partners agreed to pay 108p per share for Hyve last month
Although the board said ‘the offer represents value for shareholders’, a spokesman from Blackmoor said the deal severely undervalues Hyve.
‘At the moment, UK pensioners and shareholders are at risk of being short-changed if we allow bidders to buy companies at the UK’s currently discounted level when compared to European, US, and other global peers,’ they told the Mail.
‘Companies will be sold to new owners, but it is the shareholder’s responsibility to draw a line in the sand for value.’
Rupert Krefting, head of corporate finance and stewardship at M&G Investments, echoed this point and said: ‘The latest offer for Hyve materially undervalues the company and we plan to vote against the takeover.’
He believes there is still potential in the Hyve share price, with its post-pandemic comeback yet to be fully realised.
Although Hyve shares have failed to fully recover since the £900billion events industry was brought to a halt at the start of the pandemic, they are up 114 per cent in the last six months.
Krefting also noted the long-term benefits of pulling out of markets such as Russia following the invasion of Ukraine, which he believes will improve the ‘quality of the portfolio’ in time. Hyve’s biggest shareholder, Strategic Value Partners, with a 17 per cent stake, said it would support the takeover when it was first announced.
But it declined to comment on whether this position had changed after yesterday.
Takeover interest in UK companies picked up during Covid as bidders looked to take advantage of depressed price tags in a wave of ‘pandemic plundering’. G4S, the AA, Morrisons and Ultra Electronics are among firms to have been sold in recent years.
Hyve, formerly International Trade Exhibitions, was founded in 1991 by the Shashoua family, who were looking to capitalise on former Soviet Union states transitioning to market economies.
Almost all its exhibitions now take place across advanced economies, after it sold some global operations over the last year.