Shareholders revolt against Hyve private equity takeover
Tradeshows giant Hyve Group’s plans to go private have hit major opposition. Twenty of the global events organiser’s shareholders are opposing the takeover.
The the London-listed group is set to be taken private by US private equity firm Providence Equity Partners (PEP), but those shareholders say the bid significantly undervalues the business.
Hyve, which runs the Pure London, Moda and Scoop fashion events, among others, announced last month that it had agreed to a 108p-a-share takeover offer from PEP, valuing the company at £481 million. The media-focused US investor had initially offered 101p, then 105p.
The Hyve board said “the offer represents value for shareholders”, and Strategic Value Partners, which has a 16.4% stake, said it would vote in favour of the deal.
But other major investors M&G, Redwheel and Blackmoor Investment Partners are against the deal that would see Hyve disappear from the London stock market.
The opposing investors, which hold around 17% of voting rights, are a threat to Providence’s bid, which requires a 75% vote in favour.
A spokesman for Blackmoor said the deal severely undervalues Hyve, telling the Daily Mail: “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.
“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, also 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 events industry was severely hit by the pandemic, they’re up 114% in the last six months.
That reflects a business back to running a full schedule of global events, with Hyve saying just last week that it has started this year with “purpose and momentum”, alongside strengthening revenues.
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