August 22, 2012 / 11:38 AM / 6 years ago

Goals Soccer shareholders reject takeover bid, stock slides

(Reuters) - Goals Soccer Centres Plc’s (GOAL.L) takeover by one of Canada’s biggest pension funds fell through after shareholders narrowly rejected the offer, sending the stock down as much as 24 percent.

Goals Soccer said 71.4 percent independent shareholders voted in favour of the 73.1 million pounds ($115.4 million) offer.

The deal needed the support of three-fourths of independent shareholders to go through.

“We cannot remember a similar instance where shareholders voted down a firm bid with no alternative offer and the obvious immediate share price downside,” said Panmure Gordon analyst Simon French.

An offer from a new bidder was unlikely, French added.

In July, Goals Soccer, which runs over 42 five-a-side football centres in the United Kingdom, accepted a 144 pence per share buyout offer from Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.

Earlier this month private equity firm Patron Capital, which owns British five-a-side football company Powerleague, bowed out of a race to acquire Goals Soccer.

The British operator of recreational football centres declined to comment on who voted against the deal and said it was not in talks with any other party regarding potential offers.

Goals Soccer’s shares were down nearly 20 percent at 117 pence on the London Stock Exchange at 1408 GMT.

At that price the stock was 9 percent above the level it was when the company was first approached by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan in April.

($1 = 0.6336 British pounds)

Reporting by Karen Rebelo in Bangalore; Editing by Joyjeet Das

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