Potential Network International suitor Brookfield granted extension until 1 June to make a concrete takeover offer
- Brookfield submitted a £2.1bn proposal for Network International last month
- A rival offer from Francisco and CVC Capital Partners is worth 387p per share
- The approach for Network comes amidst a takeover frenzy for British firms
Brookfield Asset Management has been given until the start of next month to make a ‘put up or shut up’ offer for payments business Network International Holdings.
A month ago, the Canadian private equity group submitted a 400 pence per share bid valuing the Dubai-headquartered payments firm at £2.1billion.
The proposal tops a 387p per share offer from Francisco Partners Management and CVC Capital Partners, which Network has said it was ‘minded to accept.’
Deal on table: A month ago, Canadian private equity group Brookfield Asset Management submitted a £2.1billion takeover bid for Network International Holdings
Both parties now have until 5pm on 1 June to declare a firm intention to make a concrete bid or walk away after Brookfield announced on Friday that the City’s Takeover Panel has agreed to extend the deadline by which to do so.
Founded in 1994 to provide payment processing facilities for Emirates Bank, Network operates across Middle Eastern and African countries, such as Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria.
According to its website, the company employs about 1,750 people and processed almost 1 billion transactions and over $42billion of payments for more than 150,000 merchants in 2021.
It was the largest payments business in the Middle East when it debuted on the London Stock Exchange four years ago in what was the UK capital’s largest technology firm flotation since Worldpay.
However, its share price has slumped since then due to plunging profits and revenues during the early stages of the pandemic and a short-selling attack by investment group ShadowFall.
Takeover interest in the company comes amidst a widespread frenzy for London-listed businesses by foreign investors taking advantage of cheaper valuations and a depreciating pound.
On the same day that Network confirmed Brookfield had made an approach, Sureserve, a social housing energy services provider, said it had agreed to a £214.1million takeover by Cap10 Partners.
Telemedicine services provider Medica Group, property fund Industrial REIT and veterinary drugmaker Dechra Pharmaceuticals are among the next major British companies at risk of falling into overseas hands.
Struggling e-commerce retailer THG and oilfield engineering consultancy John Wood Group were also being targeted by Apollo Global Management.
But last week, both firms announced that the US private equity giant was no longer pursuing them.
London-listed businesses acquired during the past two years include fashion brand Ted Baker, supermarket chain Morrisons, and Aveva, which was purchased by French conglomerate Schneider Electric.
Network International shares closed 0.2 per cent down at 364.2p on Friday, although they have still surged by about two-thirds in the last 12 months.