HT&E’s sale of Soprano to Link Mobility terminated

Here, There & Everywhere (HT&E)’s planned sale of its 25% stake in mobile messaging software group Soprano Design (Soprano) to Link Mobility Group Holdings (LINK) is no longer going ahead.

In an announcement to the ASX, HT&E revealed that Soprano’s shareholders agreed to terminate negotiations to complete the sale.

In May, it was revealed that LINK, based in Norway and listed on the Oslo stock exchange, would pay NOK3,590 million, or approximately A$560 million in cash and equity for Soprano.

This would include $139 million for HT&E’s 25% stake in the company, for which the Aussie media provider was to receive $6.2 million in cash upfront and shares representing about 6.15% in the combined LINK/ Soprano business.

But the deal has since collapsed, with both parties unable to agree to terms after four months of protracted negotiations.

HT&E said Soprano’s shareholders had intended to proceed on the terms originally agreed upon in the non-binding term sheet, but that LINK proposed new terms and conditions which were not in the interest of the shareholders when considered alongside recent LINK share price volatility and increased debt.

HT&E recently reported its half-year results, reporting a 21% increase in group revenue to reach $109.9 million. NPAT rose to $16.3 million, up from $3.6 million during the prior corresponding period, while underlying EBITDA rose 55% to $30.4 million.

At that time, HT&E chair Hamish McLennan said he expected the sale of Soprano to take place imminently. “The sale of Soprano is progressing well and we expect a binding Share Sale Agreement to be executed shortly.

This will deliver significant shareholder value and provide fire power to accelerate our growth agenda,” McLennan said.

Earlier this month, HT&E signed a conditional agreement has been signed for the potential sale of its shares in Luxury Escapes (Lux Group).


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