The €5.7 billion ($6.4 billion U.S.) takeover offer for Scout 24 AG from U.S. private equity houses Hellman & Friedman and Blackstone has failed despite backing from the company’s board of directors, the company announced. It said shareholders were showing a “vote of confidence” in the company’s management and future.
“The voluntary public takeover bid for Scout24 shares issued failed to reach the acceptance threshold of 50 percent plus one share,” Scout24 said. “The takeover bid was therefore not successful.”
Reuters reported that less than 43 percent of shares were tendered.
In March, the two private equity firms presented their official tenders to buy at least 50 percent of Scout24’s shares for €46 per share ($51.70 U.S). The tender period expired on May 9. The valuation included debt.
Hellman & Friedman bought a majority stake in Munich-based Scout24 in 2013. Blackstone joined one year later. They listed the company on the stock exchange in 2015, gradually sold off their shares, and were out by February 2018. Just one year later, they offered to buy it back from shareholders.
The bid collapsed despite the board’s approval.
“Although we had expressed support for the strategic partnership with Hellman & Friedman and Blackstone, we fully respect the decision of our shareholders and consider it a vote of confidence in Scout24’s future and management,” Scout24 CEO Tobias Hartmann (LinkedIn profile) was quoted as saying in the statement. “We will focus on our growth strategy and continue to develop Scout24 as an independent company.”
Reuters reported investors holding 42.8 percent of the shares accepted the offer. It said investors believed the offer was too low, but the bidders were unwilling to raise the price.
“The real issue was that the market has rallied so strongly since the deal was agreed that some investors wanted a better deal,” an insider told Financial Times.
Scout24 reported 20.6 percent year-on-year growth in revenue to €148.8 million in the first quarter of 2019. The group’s ordinary operating EBITDA increased to €70.9 million from €63.7 million.