Non-Standard Finance extends deadline for Provident shareholders to accept £1.3bn hostile takeover
Non-Standard Finance (NSF) has set 15 May as its final closing date to secure its hostile takeover of rival Provident Financial, urging shareholders to back it to break the “status quo”.
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The new date signals a week’s delay to the previous deadline to accept the £1.3bn merger, which has already been voted for by shareholders owning more than 50 per cent of Provident, including Woodford Investment Management, Invesco Asset Management and Marathon Asset Management.
Today NSF said shareholders must accept its offer by the middle of next month and said it expects its bid to become “wholly unconditional” by 5 June.
"Our offer and transformation plan for Provident is compelling and will benefit customers and employees as well as unlock substantial value for shareholders,” NSF chief executive John van Kuffeler said today.
“It represents a clear alternative to the status quo offered by the Provident board and, having already received acceptances from shareholders holding over 50 per cent of Provident's shares, we urge all remaining Provident shareholders to accept our offer without delay.”
Investors have until 1pm on 15 May to accept the bid, NSF said.
The two finance giants have been engaged in a war of words, with Provident earlier this month urging shareholders to reject what it called a “risky and flawed” takeover bid.
The firm took the step of launching a 47-page defence against the smaller competitor’s bid, and added former Sainsbury’s Bank boss Neil Chandler to strengthen its board.
Provident added that NSF’s track record was one of “significant value destruction” after losing 40 per cent of its share value since its 2015 flotation.
Kuffeler also wrote to Provident shareholders today to set out NSF’s plans for the merger, adding that it was “most upsetting” to watch Provident’s “recent significant decline”.
Provident fell from 2,429.21p per share in October 2016 to just a fifth of that value, 515p, last week.
NSF laid out its plan to “turn around Provident’s fortunes”, with Kuffeler vowing to focus on credit cards, home credit, branch-based lending and guarantor loans.
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It also plans to strengthen management teams and reverse cost inflation that it said saw Provident’s central costs grow from £12.8m in 2017 to £20.2m in 2018, as well as cust costs in its consumer credit division.