Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Merger Mania Latest

Your correspondent had a long and very interesting day. The first thing to report - anecdotaly, of course - is that Jump TV's takeover of NeuLion is actually the reverse. NeuLion's sole major client, the NHL, seems to be there due to a family connection between the two organisations and NeuLion seem to have picked up control of Jump TV (JTV.L) for a price well below the current market cap thanks to family connections. Such is the sophistication of the Toronto stock market and AIM they haven't noticed.

I met with the guys from Entriq and their acquisition of Dayport made a lot of sense as they explained it. But, there again, they've always been the cleverest company on the Internet TV block. However, I still feel that they lack a full streaming internet TV proposition, and it was a shame they did not acquire Narrowstep (NRWS). That's a deal I would have backed wholeheartedly.

Meantime, the conditional share prices of Narrowstep and OnStream seem to strangely be going in different directions. Now, as all regular readers will know, I have a vested interest here. However, it does seem that there is some structured trading in the market. Such is the way the OTC works.

On to a meeting with my old friend, the CEO of a TV production company on AIM and tales of the horrors of attempting a takeover in that market; I have huge sympathy for any company founder who takes their company public. We need advisors, and we all end up assuming that the advisors know best. When you go public you suddenly lose that very thing that made your company successful - instinct. Thankfully my friend walked away from what I regarded as a dreadful deal.

Of course, the shareholders always want more, but, hey, hang on, I'm the third largest shareholder in a listed US internet TV company and I'm not consulted over anything that goes on. Is that right ?

Market operators and their overseers need to decide if they are there for the management or the shareholders' benefit. Shareholders should also have more direct say on the formation of company boards and certainly on mergers and takeovers.

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