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Takeovers Continue to Drive 2022’s M&A Activity with Premium Prices for Sellers

FN Media Group Presents USA News Group News Commentary


Vancouver, BC – April 14, 2022 – USA News Group –Following a record 2021, filled with unprecedented transaction volumes and values, analysts are stating how the underlying market dynamics remain in place for 2022 to repeat. Other analysts at both Morgan Stanley and KPMG are predicting 2022 to be another strong year. With over 63,000 deals last year, M&A activity accounted for a whopping $5.9 trillion, with deals in the US alone up by 82%. So far there’s been a flurry of takeover offers in 2022, such as for Petroteq Energy, Inc. (OTCPK:PQEFF) by Viston United Swiss AG, Lee Enterprises, Incorporated (NASDAQ:LEE), Anaplan, Inc. (NYSE:PLAN), Cedar Fair, L.P. (NYSE:FUN) and Splunk Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLK).


Currently on the table is a premium takeover offer for clean technology company Petroteq Energy, Inc. (OTC:PQEFF), from renewable energies and clean technologies investment firm Viston United Swiss AG.


The deal in place is a 100% all cash bid for C$0.74 (US$0.59) per common share.


At this price, Viston has given Petroteq a valuation of 279% over the closing price of C$0.195 on the TSX-V August 6, 2021—the day prior to the Canadian exchange’s cease trade order began.


This valuation also comes at 1,032% over the TSX-V volume-weighted average price of $0.065 per common share for the 52-week period preceding April 15, 2021—the last trading day prior to the publication of the voluntary purchase offer in Germany.


Shares of Petroteq have already ceased trading on the Canadian exchange, however investors can still trade shares in the US under the OTC symbol PQEFF.


With just weeks left to go before the April 14, 2022 deadline is elapsed, shares of PQEFF are still trading at only US$0.355, meaning there’s still a 66% premium left available for those who follow through offering their shares to the buyer through the official takeover offer website


The Viston offer has been favorably across the Petroteq team. Its Board Members have shared their unanimous intention to tender their shares through the offer. Now the company’s Founder, Former Chairman and CEO Alex Blyumkin has announced his support for the takeover bid.


“After thorough consideration of all aspects of the Viston Offer, the advice provided by Haywood and consulting with its other advisors, the Board has unanimously determined to recommend that Shareholders accept the Viston Offer and tender their Common Shares,” said the Board in their official statement.


In mid-February, amusement and water park owner and operator Cedar Fair, L.P. (NYSE:FUN) rejected a $3.4 billion takeover bid from fellow amusement park group SeaWorld, even after the deal had been sweetened.


The deal would’ve added Cedar Fair’s multiple amusement parks such as Knott’s Berry Farm and Canada’s Wonderland to SeaWorld’s stable of 12 destinations that includes not only SeaWorld, but also Busch Gardens, Aquatica and Sesame Place.


Due to the $60-per-share bid in cash, Cedar Fair saw its shares rise rapidly after Bloomberg published a detailed report of the offer. The price of FUN shares rose +13% from $49.73 to $56.25 on the first day of trading, eventually hitting a high of $61.65 by February 11, 2022. The move caused SeaWorld to up their bid to $63 per share, which would’ve valued Cedar Fair at $3.58 billion.


However, that rise could’ve led to the eventual February 16, 2022 bid rejection, which Cedar Fair said was not in the company’s “best interest”. The rejection immediately sent shares back down to $58, and now Cedar Fair is trading around the mid $50s again.


American private equity giant Thoma Bravo agreed to purchase British enterprise software firm Anaplan, Inc. (NYSE:PLAN) for $10.7 billion at a rate of $66 per share in an all-cash transaction. The offer represents a premium of approximately 46% to the volume weighted average price of Anaplan stock for the five days ending March 18, 2022.


“We are thrilled to partner with Thoma Bravo to build on the strength of our innovative platform and capitalize on the massive opportunity and incredible demand we are seeing,” said Frank Calderoni, Chairman and CEO of Anaplan, highlighting that the takeover marks the start of a new chapter for the company. “This is a clear validation of our team’s outstanding work and the start of an exciting new chapter for Anaplan, our customers, and our partner ecosystem.”


Prior to the deal’s announcement, shares of Anaplan closed at $50.62, before they instantly shot up $64.56 on their first day of post-deal trading—a rapid rise of 27.5% in one day.


“We have followed Anaplan for years and have seen the incredible value they bring customers through their best-in-class planning platform,” said Holden Spaht, a Managing Partner at Thoma Bravo. “We look forward to leveraging Thoma Bravo’s extensive operational and investment expertise in enterprise software to support Anaplan in its future growth.”


Software maker Splunk Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLK) received a takeover offer of more than $20 billion from Cisco Systems Inc., according to people familiar with that matter. If completed, this would represent Cisco’s biggest acquisition in company history—nearly tripling its next biggest acquisition of Scientific Atlanta in 2005, while quadrupling its most recent deal acquiring Acacia Communications Inc. for nearly $5 billion in 2021.


Splunk recently named Gary Steel as the company’s new CEO at the beginning of March, set to be effective April 11, 2022.


“Gary is a visionary leader whose software and cybersecurity expertise, deep understanding of SaaS and recurring revenue models, and unwavering commitment to driving innovation and customer success on a global scale will be invaluable to Splunk on our path to $5 billion and beyond,” said Graham Smith, Interim CEO and Chair of Splunk. “We’re thrilled to welcome Gary to the Splunk team, and look forward to working with him to further scale the business and extend the value we provide our customers and partners.”


In the case of Lee Enterprises, Incorporated (NASDAQ:LEE), a hostile takeover attempt reportedly led the media company to quietly lay off top editors and other staff across its local papers. The offer is coming from Alden Global Capital, a hedge fund known for consolidating local news for profit.


Lee shareholders overwhelmingly re-elected all three Director nominees at the company’s 2022 Annual Meeting. This came after Lee’s board rejected the director nominations notice provided by Strategic Investment Opportunities LLC—an affiliate of Alden.


In response, Lee issued the following statement: “We deeply appreciate the record turnout and strong support we received from shareholders at this pivotal annual meeting. The results represent a resounding rejection of Alden Global Capital’s campaign against Lee. We look forward to continuing to grow the business and building value as we execute our digital growth strategy. We also remain committed to delivering highly valued local journalism, which is at the core of Lee’s strengths and competitive advantage.”


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