Business paper Dagens Industri reports (in Swedish) that Aspiro’s minority shareholders, who own 10 percent of the company, are blocking the bid. Aspiro’s board of directors had previously unanimously recommended the deal.
Sune Karlsson, chairman of the shareholder’s equity association, Aktiespararna, told the publication: “We will recommend our members say no to the offer. We have accumulated more than 10 percent of the owners, which is enough to block it.”
Project Panther Bidco, a holding company ultimately controlled by Jay Z, made a cash offer for Aspiro in January, but the minority shareholders have questioned the valuation and how much money the rapper would bring to finance international expansion plans.
The acceptance period for Jay Z’s offer expires on March 11 and the minority shareholders say they’re now attempting to start talks to agree better terms.
We’ve contacted Jay Z’s representatives and Aspiro for comment and will update this post when we hear more.
Update: Fredrik Bjørland, chairman of the Aspiro’s independent board committee, tells TNW:
“As you probably know, the independent board committee has made a thorough evaluation of the bid from Project Panther, assisted by an external fairness opinion by ABG Sundal Collier and following a structured process. We still believe the offer is attractive for both the company and its shareholders, and recommend the offer based on this.
We further note that Aktiespararna’s recommendation to not accept the offer is primarily based on an argument that more than 10% will reject the offer and a potentially raised bid by Project Panther. This is a bit surprising, as to my experience, we have neither a confirmation that more than 10% will reject the offer (as we are still within the acceptance period until March 11th) nor that Project Panther is willing to raise its bid or engage in direct negotiations with the minority shareholders.
In my opinion, the recommendation to not accept the offer involves high risk, as it is well known that Aspiro is currently unprofitable and in need of capital within 12 months, and the current majority shareholder has indicated it is not willing to support this capital need. We thus believe accepting a 60% bid premium is a far better risk/reward recommendation.”
➤ Aspiro’s minority shareholders snub Aspiro bid [Dagens Indstri]