Big Score For Goals Soccer

Published in Company Comment on 20 July 2012

Five-a-side football company announces buy-out by Canadian pension fund.

Goals Soccer Centres (LSE: GOAL), which runs five-a-side football centres in the UK, was up nearly 10% at one point this morning, on news that it's accepted a cash offer from Canadian pension fund The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan (OTPP). The buy-out is being executed via Goliath Bidco Limited, part of OTPP's private equity arm, Teachers' Private Capital (TPC).

The cash offer values Goals Soccer Centres at about £73.1m, or 144p per share -- a premium of 11p over last night's close.

OTPP originally approached Goals Soccer Centres with a preliminary bid in April. Earlier this month, Goals Soccer Centres revealed there had also been interest from private equity firm Patron Capital, the controlling shareholder in rival UK five-a-side operation Powerleague Group Ltd. OTPP was given until 23 July to a make a firm bid, and it appears to have scored the winner.

However, Patron Sports Holding Sarl -- a company indirectly owned by Patron Capital -- also released an announcement this morning, stating that it is still "considering its options" in respect of Goals Soccer Centres, and urging its shareholders not to take any action at this time.

While there is no certainty of any firm offer by Patron, the possibility of a counter-bid already seems to be driving Goals Soccer Centres shares higher than the OTPP valuation. But whether Patron will actually make a firm bid will only be clear at the end of what might now be considered "extra time"...

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> Jon doesn't own shares in Goals Soccer Centres.

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