A plan to buy an Australian company for $3.6 billion was scrapped after a review. – We found some things, says the chairman of the board.
Link Mobility and Soprano Design have agreed not to proceed with the planned acquisition, according to a stock exchange announcement Sunday night.
Talks about the agreement and the company’s review (“due diligence”) have continued since May. However, something has arisen that makes Link believe there is a need for renegotiation.
The two companies discussed changes to the agreement this week, but were unable to reach an agreement. Accordingly, the companies today concluded negotiations and terminated the agreement, as stated in the report.
– It was not the intention of the other party to deceive us, but we found some things, which meant that we had to renegotiate the price. We’ve tried this for a week, but we didn’t agree,” CEO Jens Rugseth tells E24.
Link Mobility expands internationally with 1 billion acquisitions
It must have consequences
Rogseth says he can’t go into detail about what they found in the company’s audit as there is inside information.
– There was a certain distance between what we came to understand and what we found in “due diligence”. This should be reflected in the agreement, and it has been willing so far, but not enough that we saw the agreement could be completed, says Rogseth.
In May, Link Mobility announced it was acquiring the Sydney-based company in what was set to be its first major expansion outside Europe.
The announced purchase price was 3.59 billion NOK.
It’s a very good company, but when you find changes, it has to have consequences, says Rogseth.
So nothing can stop the acquisition
When asked by E24 in May if Chairman Jens Rugseth saw anything that could stop the acquisition, he answered the following:
– No, not really. Approval from competition authorities is a formal matter. We’ll be significantly larger with this, but we won’t have a dominant position in the individual countries that signal acquisition is going to stop.
– You didn’t see anything that could stop the acquisition in May. What is your comment on that now?
It went to the competition authorities, and we didn’t start the due diligence then, says Rogseth.
He says he’s been through many times with similar things happening, and generally states that something may not be right, such as product quality, market position, growth, or number base.
– Says Rogseth: – You shouldn’t put so much prestige in an agreement that you can’t get out of it.
According to the May announcement, Soprano Design started in 1994 and has more than 4,000 corporate and government clients in industries such as finance, health, logistics, and education.
Soprano is 75 percent owned by founder Richard Faveiro and the remaining 25 percent owned by HT&E Digital Pty, listed in Australia. According to the announcement in May, these were to become shareholders in Link Mobility, as 95 percent of the settlement was to be made by issuing new shares in Link Mobility.
Since Link Mobility went public last fall, they’ve made several acquisitions. It is part of their growth strategy to achieve their goal of becoming one of the top three to five players globally.
At a price of more than 11 billion
Soprano does the same thing as Link, but is larger than the email ones.
Everyone who has a mobile phone in Norway will receive a monthly letter from Link Mobility, through, for example, a vaccination notice, that a tax return has arrived or if you have purchased a plane or concert ticket.
Link makes money for every message that customers leave, plus more advanced products come on top of that.
The company’s market capitalization was NOK 11.4 billion on the Oslo Stock Exchange at the closing price on Friday.
Link Mobility returned to the stock exchange last fall. That was two years after the stock exchange bought the company for NOK 3.4 billion.
Link Mobility was founded by Jens Rugseth and Rune Syversen. They started with one-way text messaging solutions for businesses, but gradually established themselves as a mobile technology platform offering multi-channel messaging for physical and online sales.
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