With the majority shareholder of Tidal in Jay Z’s corner, his €50m takeover of parent Aspiro looked like a done deal. But now a collection of minority investors at Sweden’s Aspiro say they want to block the move – and have the minimum 10% stake in the company they need to pull it off.
Aspiro’s board of directors previously unanimously recommended the deal, admitting that Tidal wasn’t profitable and “not fully funded for the coming 12 months”.
However, Aspiro’s minority shareholders feel the bid from Jay Z-fronted company Project Panther Bidco, does not offer sufficient value to investors.
Fredrik Bjørland, chairman of the Aspiro’s independent board committee, urged shareholders to accept the bid by their deadline of March 11.
“We still believe the offer is attractive for both the company and its shareholders, and recommend the offer based on this,” he said.
“WE HAVE ACCUMULATED MORE THAN 10% OF ASPIRO’S OWNERS, WHICH IS ENOUGH TO BLOCK THIS BID.”
SUNE KARLSSON, ASPIRO SHAREHOLDERS’ GROUP
“We further note that Aktiespararna’s (the splinter group’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.”
Sune Karlsson, chairman of the splinter group of shareholders’ equity association, Aktiespararna, told di.se: “We will recommend our members say no to the offer. We have accumulated more than 10% of the owners, which is enough to block it.”
Aspiro AB posted a net loss of 84.1m SEK (€8.9m) for the last calendar year, off the back of a 22% increase in net revenues to 303.2m SEK (€31.9m).