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SpinVox up for sale - investor

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The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

A minor SpinVox investor says the beleaguered voice-to-text services company is up for sale. Invesco Perpetual says it's cashing out, and it's written down its investment by 90 per cent.

In a financial statement this week, Invesco disclosed:

More disappointingly amongst the unquoted investments, since the year end, the Company's holding in SpinVox, the voicemail to text messaging business, was written down in value after the Company chose not to invest in a further funding round, which was dilutive to non-participating investors. The business has been put up for sale, and it is possible that, should a good sales price be achieved, the new valuation may be exceeded.

SpinVox's PR company had not returned a call at press time.

The 'sale' is not a surprise, since the clock has been ticking since the most recent re-financing operation. In that funding round, SpinVox received over £15m in new cash, but the price was high. Tisbury hedge fund representative John Botts has been installed as chairman, and SpinVox must repay a £30m bridging loan to Tisbury by 20 December.

Prospective suitor Nuance is unlikely to be interested, having picked up rival Jott earlier this year.

Invesco adds that it now values its £750,000 stake at £76,000, a 90 per cent reduction. Larger shareholders, including hedge funds GLG and Tisbury, and Toscafund's Martin Hughes, have much more to lose.

That valuation will also make grim reading for any SpinVox staff who preferred to take stock instead of cash recently. In the case of a sale, they're already last in line to be paid after the debtors, the preferred shareholders and option holders. ®

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