Trade Me valued below takeover offer

TradeMeOnline marketplace Trade Me has seen its shares independently valued at between $5.93 to $6.39 per share, below the standing offer of $6.45 per share made by Titan to acquire the business in December 2018.

Titan, which is owned by private equity fund Apax Partners, proposed to acquire 100 per cent of Trade Me shares by way of a scheme of arrangement. With the valuation, the offer will potentially pay shareholders a premium.

The independent valuation was carried out by adviser Grant Samuel & Associates Limited, which was appointed by Trade Me to assess the merits of the offer by Titan.

Shareholders are expected to vote on the matter on 3 April 2019, online or in-person in Wellington, with Trade Me recommending that shareholders vote in favour of the scheme.

Though at least 75 per cent of shareholders need to vote in favour of the scheme, it must also be approved by the High Court of New Zealand, as well as the Overseas Investment Office.

Should the vote go through, and all necessary conditions are satisfied, the scheme is expected to be implemented on or around the 8 May 2019.

The marketplace turned 20 earlier this week, with chief executive John Macdonald noting he is “humbled that [1.8 million] Kiwis still visit us everyday.”

“This is a big moment for us… our platform has given thousands of Kiwi entrepreneurs an opportunity to make their own business and reach an audience they’d never have found without us,” Macdonald said.

“Many a garage across the country was converted into a new online business and a number of those have grown into substantial stores which still sell with us today.”

Macdonald had initially intended to step down after 15 years at the business in December 2018, though agreed he would stay on until past the end of 2018 in order to help facilitate the takeover.

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