Investment Trusts  

SVG takeover saga nears end with £800m deal

SVG takeover saga nears end with £800m deal

SVG Capital has agreed to sell its investment portfolio to HarbourVest for around £807m, potentially drawing the bitter corporate stand-off between the two to a close.

SVG, an investment trust focused on private equity, said it had signed an 'asset transfer deed' for the sale of its entire portfolio to HarbourVest, which sparked hostilities last month when it made an offer for the trust at 650p a share.

This original offer – which must lapse for the new arrangement to take effect – hit a roadblock when SVG unveiled a series of counter-deals this month, leading HarbourVest to offer “at least” £783.1m for SVG’s investment portfolio, instead of purchasing the overall business from its shareholders.

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According to SVG the latest deal, which is still subject to shareholder approval of which HarbourVest accounts for over 36 per cent, would equate to an approximate aggregate value per share of 715p and is a slight premium to the value of the portfolio at the end of July.

SVG chairman Andrew Sykes said: “Since HarbourVest Bidco’s announcement of its final cash offer of 650p on September 12, the board has pursued a number of options in order to maximise shareholder value.

“The board of SVG Capital is committed to delivering optimum value for all its shareholders. Accordingly, after careful consideration, we are recommending HarbourVest’s asset purchase transaction to acquire the company’s investment portfolio, since we believe it provides the most compelling combination of value and certainty of deliverability of any of the proposals submitted.

“We will now seek to secure shareholder approval with minimal delay so that we can begin the process of returning cash to shareholders as soon as possible.”

Investment trust analysts pointed to saga to demonstrate the hazards of “aggressive” takeover manoeuvres, citing share offers were rarely successful given the public nature and the possibility of counter offers. SVG had attempted to stymie HarbourVest by selling half its portfolio to rivals Pomona Capital and Pantheon Ventures and selling the entire business to Goldman Sachs Asset Management and a Canadian pension fund.