Trade Me Group says British private equity firm Apax Partners has approached it with a non-binding indicative offer to take it over for $6.40 per share.
That’s a 25.5 percent premium to Tuesday’s close at $5.10 and values Trade Me at $2.54 billion. The shares are now trading at $6.09, up 99 cents, or 19.4 percent.
“This indicative proposal is subject to a number of conditions, including the completion of due diligence,” the online market place says.
“The board of Trade Me, together with its advisers, has reviewed the indicative proposal and has decided to engage with Apax.”
Goldman Sachs is advising the company.
“Trade Me has provided Apax with due diligence access on an exclusive basis until December 12 to facilitate a binding offer. This exclusive access is subject to a ‘fiduciary carve-out’ that permits Trade Me to engage with third parties, should it receive any unsolicited proposals.”
The directors say there is no certainty the indicative proposal will result in an offer or any other transaction for Trade Me. Shareholders need take no action in the meantime.
Other Apax investments include Israel-based Global-e Online, which provides cross-border e-commerce solutions, Genius Sports, a British-based sports data company, SoYoung, the largest online marketplace for aesthetic medical treatments in China, MatchesFashion.com, a British-based predominantly online global luxury goods retailer, and Moda Operandi, a British-based online luxury fashion retailer.
Trade Me, New Zealand’s largest internet auction site, was founded in 1999 by entrepreneur Sam Morgan, who sold it to Fairfax Media (now Stuff) in 2006 for $700 million. The company was listed on the New Zealand stock exchange in December 2011.