October 10, 2016 / 11:57 AM / 2 years ago

SVG Capital accepts bid from Goldman and Canadian pension fund

(Reuters) - Britain’s SVG Capital SVG.L accepted an offer from Goldman Sachs (GS.N) and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board on Thursday, saying it gave shareholders a better return than a hostile bid from U.S. private equity rival HarbourVest.

If the Goldman consortium bid for SVG’s entire investment portfolio prevails, shareholders would be able to sell stock at 680 pence each in a series of tenders over the coming months and the firm would be wound up in the second quarter next year.

Boston-based firm HarbourVest launched its SVG bid on Sept. 12 at 650 pence a share, saying it was taking advantage of a weaker pound, following the Brexit vote, to snap up assets with good short-term growth prospects.

SVG shares closed 0.45 percent lower at 667.50 pence.

“We believe it is the most favorable offer for SVG Capital shareholders after considering the additional risks and timing involved,” Liberum analysts wrote in a note for clients.

HarbourVest said late on Wednesday that Aviva Investors (AV.L) and Legal & General Investment Management (LGEN.L), which together own about 7.3 percent of SVG’s shares, had both withdrawn letters of intent to vote for its offer.

Investors have been frustrated for years by Britain’s listed private equity sector because it has traded at a discount to the value of its assets, prompting some activist investors to step in.

SVG rejected HarbourVest’s hostile approach last month saying it was taking to other suitors who might offer a better price.

On Tuesday, SVG said it had agreed to sell half its portfolio to Pomona Capital and Pantheon Ventures but this was then trumped the same day by the Goldman consortium offer.

SVG said the new bid was equivalent to a 6.8 percent discount to the value of its investment portfolio at the end of July, better than the 11.5 percent discount offered by HarbourVest.

SVG said Goldman Sachs and the Canadian pension plan would pay about 748 million pounds ($950 million) for its investment portfolio which would allow it to return 1.06 billion pounds to shareholders once net cash was included.

Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; editing by David Clarke

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