News Column

Daisy Group talks to investors about potential buy-out

August 14, 2014

MARION DAKERS; MARION DAKERS CITY EDITOR

TELECOMS company Daisy Group is in talks to be taken private by its chief executive and a group of investors including Toscafund, the hedge fund chaired by former RBS executive Sir George Mathewson.

Daisy, which sells phone and data services to businesses, said yesterday that its founder and boss Matthew Riley teamed up with Toscafund and private equity group Penta Capital to make a proposal to buy the firm on July 27.

Independent board members are in discussions with the consortium about the 190p-per-share plan, which would value the entire company at pound(s)507 million.

Daisy's shares, which are listed on London's Alternative Investment Market, closed 9.7 per cent higher at 192p yesterday. Most of the firm's shares are owned by a handful of investors.

Mr Riley established Daisy in 2001 and owns 23 per cent of the firm's stock. Toscafund, meanwhile, holds 28.5 per cent.

Other major shareholders in the firm including Oakley Capital, Invesco and Woodford Investment Management either declined to comment on the takeover interest or were unavailable yesterday.

Woodford, the new investment vehicle set up by former Invesco fund manager Neil Woodford, revealed in May that it had built a stake of almost four per cent in Daisy.

Oakley, which owns almost 14 per cent of Daisy shares, was founded by Daisy's executive chairman Peter Dubens.

Daisy said in June that its acquisition-fuelled expansion had contributed to wider operating losses of pound(s)17.9 million, on broadly flat revenues of pound(s)352.7 million during the year to the end of March.

The firm has 17 offices around the UK including one in Bellshill, near Glasgow.

The company took part in informal talks with US media group Liberty Global last year, but the discussions ended after the pair reportedly disagreed on the price.

Under Takeover Panel rules, the consortium has until September 10 to make a formal bid to buy the company or walk away for at least six months.


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Source: Herald, The (Scotland)


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