Canadian pension fund Teachers' to buy UK's Goals Soccer

Fri Jul 20, 2012 3:54am EDT
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By Euan Rocha

TORONTO (Reuters) - Goals Soccer Centres Plc GOAL.L, which runs 5-a-side football centres across the United Kingdom, accepted a 73.1 million pound ($115 million) buyout offer from one of Canada's largest pension funds on Friday.

The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan -- better known simply as Teachers' -- said on Friday that Goals' board of directors had agreed to unanimously recommend its all-cash offer to the company's shareholders.

Teachers' will pay 144 pence per share for Goals, according to a statement from the British company. The offer represents a premium of 6.7 percent to Goals' Thursday closing price.

Goals shares were up about 9.26 percent at 146 pence a share at 0733 GMT on Friday on the London Stock Exchange, indicating that investors were expecting a higher offer.

Earlier this month, Goals confirmed that private equity firm Patron Capital, owner of British five-a-side football company Powerleague, had expressed an interest in acquiring Goals.

On Friday, Patron said it was still considering its options regarding an offer for Goals and urged the company's shareholders to not take any action on the Teachers' bid.

Teachers', which is acquiring Goals through its private equity arm Teachers' Private Capital (TPC), said the deal requires, among other things, the backing of shareholders, holding at least 75 percent of the company's shares.

Some of Goals' top shareholders include the company's co-founder Keith Rogers and investment funds Aviva Investors, Hargreave Hale and Hermes Fund Managers.   Continued...