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11 October 2017

IP Group extends Touchstone offer again

Touchstone shareholders now have until October 27 to accept IP Group’s all-shares offer, though the deal must also be cleared by the UK’s competition watchdog.

Author: Callum Cyrus, reporter

UK-based commercialisation firm IP Group extended the deadline on Monday for shareholders in Touchstone Innovations, its peer spun out from Imperial College London, to approve a £490m ($646.4m) acquisition bid.

The deadline is now expected to close on October 27, with IP Group having already secured approval to purchase approximately 97% of Touchstone shares.

The merger would combine Touchstone’s assets, which include spinouts from universities in London, Cambridge and Oxford, with IP Group’s portfolio.

IP Group has received firm approvals for 52.3% of Touchstone’s shares, including from investors with stakes in both firms such as Woodford Investment Management and Invesco Asset Management.

The company holds provisional commitments for a further 44.4% stake in Touchstone, including a letter of intent from Imperial College London to sell its 24.74 million shares.

IP Group’s offer worked out at £2.661 ($3.52) per Touchstone share as of September 2017, with Touchstone and IP Group shareholders set to hold a respective 34% and 66% of the merged company. Touchstone’s board of directors insists the offer undervalues the firm.

With approvals secured for more than 90% of Touchstone’s share capital, IP Group could legally mount a hostile takeover of the remaining shares. However, the country’s regulator, UK Competition & Markets Authority, must still rule on whether the merger would undermine market competition, in a decision due on October 27.

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