United Kingdom

UK outsourcer Equiniti sold to Siris Capital in £624m deal

An American private equity firm has announced a £624million takeover bid for British outsourcing firm Equiniti.

Siris Capital said it was offering 170p per share for the back-office support company, its fifth approach so far.

Equiniti refused to discuss the previous four offers and did not reveal them to the City but yesterday the FTSE 250 firm confirmed the latest advance by Siris and said it was studying it ‘carefully’.

£624m takeover: Siris Capital said it was offering 170p per share for back-office support company Equiniti, its fifth approach so far

The private equity firm is said to have first come forward with a behind-the-scenes offer last summer, when Equiniti was being battered by coronavirus disruption.

Equiniti’s shares had been trading above 200p at the start of 2020 but before yesterday’s offer they stood at just 137.6p. 

Under boss Paul Lynam, who took over on April 1, the firm is carrying out a major business review and plans to announce the outcome in July. 

The approach by Siris is the latest example of private equity firms swooping on British businesses laid low by the Covid-19 crisis – a trend critics have dubbed ‘pandemic plundering’.

Yesterday a spokesman for Equiniti said: ‘Equiniti Group notes yesterday’s media speculation and the subsequent announcement by Siris Capital Group and confirms that it has received this morning a highly conditional non-binding proposal. 

The proposal is subject to a number of pre-conditions including completion of detailed due diligence and arrangement of debt financing. 

The board will evaluate the proposal carefully in all respects, together with its financial and legal advisers.

‘In the meantime, shareholders are strongly advised to take no action.’

A Siris spokesman said: ‘Siris notes recent press speculation regarding Equiniti and confirms that it has submitted a non-binding proposal to acquire the entire issued and to be issued share capital of Equiniti for a cash consideration of 170 pence per share.

‘The proposal also sets out what Siris believes to be a highly deliverable process and timetable to allow it to make a binding proposal.’

However, it added: ‘There can be no certainty that a formal offer will be made.’

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