Teachers’ £73.1-million ($115.6-million Canadian) bid for the U.K.’s Goals Soccer Centres plc has been recommended by that company’s board.
But that’s not the end of the battle. Private equity firm Patron Capital has already made it clear that it has been sniffing around Goals. To succeed, Teachers’ bid requires the approval of Goals’ shareholders representing at least three-quarters of the company’s stock. On Friday Patron was out telling them to reserve their votes while it weighs its options. A protracted battle could be brewing.
The company at the centre of it owns and operates 43 outdoor football stadiums in the U.K., and one in the U.S. The fields can be rented for kids parties, corporate events, or regular games with friends. Goals has about 800 employees, and last year booked revenues of £30.4-million.
The deal comes after Teachers’ head of private equity, Jane Rowe, recruited Jo Taylor to head up the pension fund’s private equity office in London this year. The pension fund thinks it can grow Goals both in its current markets and in other geographies.
The potential acquisition comes the same month that Teachers’ private equity arm announced that it had bought a majority stake in Helly Hansen Group AS, the Norwegian outdoor apparel maker.
All this action is occuring as the pension plan’s private equity arm prepares for the final handoff of its stake in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which has long been a marquee holding, to Rogers and BCE – a deal that will leave Teachers’ with $1.3-billion that it could deploy. Globe and Mail reporter David Shoalts reports that that handoff is likely to occur on August 1.