New Media Spark wins German bid battle

Hostilities ceased

New Media SPARK, the UK VC house, has won its battle to assume control of Sputz AG, the German online brokerage.

The company today declared that it had received 53.7 per cent acceptance of shareholders for its hostile bid for Sputz.

The current supervisory board of Sputz has resigned, to be replaced by SPARK's own nominees. SPARK will retain Sputz's stock market listing in Germany, as this gives it useful acquisition currency.

New Media SPARK is transforming itself from a VC business to a holding company for online financial businesses. Next step could be a fully-integrated online brokerage.

Partly through the recent, hotly-contested takeover of Globalnet Financial.com, London-based SPARK has control over a number electronic trading platforms, which it wishes to combine with Sputz's brokerage business.

SPARK's bid for Sputz was controversial on two points: it was hostile, still a rarity in Germany, and it exploited a loophole in German takeover law, to be shut next year, which meant it could gain control without buying the whole company i.e. on the cheap.

In the UK, by contrast, companies must tender for the entire share capital of the takeover target, once the ownership ceiling of 29.9 per cent is breached. ®

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