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Pon Making All-Out Effort to Takeover Accell

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ALMERE, The Netherlands – Pon Holding is making an all-out effort to combine its Pon Bike Group with Accell Group for creating “the long term winner in the industry”. This is in particular reflected by what the multi-billion euro earning Dutch family business intends to pay for the Amsterdam stock market listed Accell Group NV.

Pon Making All-Out Effort to Takeover Accell
Financial analysts generally judge positive on the Accell takeover by Pon. – Photo Bike Europe

Pon Holdings is reluctant in publishing its financial figures. However it is estimated that currently annual revenues amount to over 8 billion euro which the international trading and servicing company with approximately 13,000 employees spread over 450 branches is earning in 32 countries. Pon Holdings is one of the largest family business in the Netherlands that has the financial power to takeover a listed company like Accell. Even as that comes at the costs of some 850 million euro. The last Tuesday published bid by Pon Holdings’ stands at € 32.72 per Accell share in cash, including the 2016 proposed dividend of € 0.72 per share. Accell has close to 26 million outstanding shares resulting in a 850 million euro takeover price. End 2016 Accell Group was valued at 566 million euro.

Financial analysts on Pon takeover

Financial analysts regard the € 32.72 per Accell share as only a first bid. Meaning that the 850 million euro takeover price could even go up further. However, Pon emphasized in its bid announcement of last Tuesday the its proposed offer price per share already includes a hefty bonus for Accell’s shareholders; a premium of 31% compared to the closing share price on 16 March 2017, the day prior to Pon Holding’s initial approach to Accell Group through a letter outlining its proposal; a premium of 43% to the 3-month volume weighted average price as per 10 April 2017; and a premium of 23% to Accell Group’s all-time high closing share price of € 26.54 per share recorded on 10 April 2017.

Financial analysts generally judge positive on the takeover. They see the strategic benefits that the merger entails; also internationally. One of the analysts calls the timing of the bid interesting “Accell CEO René Takens is about to leave the company. You’d almost think that for years he has blocked a takeover and Pon now sees his chance.”

Accell’s shareholders meeting on 25 April 2017

René Takens resigns as CEO at Accell’s shareholders meeting that takes place on 25 April 2017. After that meeting he will act as an advisor to the company “helping to facilitate a smooth transition,” was said by Accell Group in a press release on his resignation. Whether this ‘transition’ includes the merger with Pon Bike Group is not clear. In the Dutch press Takens was quoted on what is to take place at the shareholders meeting of April 25. He said “Here we will be transparent on our discussions with Pon. I do not expect that we will reach an agreement soon. At this moment our position on the Pon bid is absolutely neutral. My own position is currently not so important. The four members of the Accell board of directors and our consultants are working hard to study the proposals of Pon. We are still in the preliminary stages and I really cannot say where we stand.”

Accell – Pon combination brings cycling superpower

If the Pon takeover succeeds then a cycling multinational will emerge that money-wise is the biggest bicycle and e-bike manufacturer in the world making about 2.3 million bikes annually. In 2016 Accell sold 1.5 million bicycles and e-bikes in 77 countries. Pon forecasts to manufacture 800,000 this year. Accell’s net 2016 turnover came in at € 1.05 billion. Pon forecasts a total 2017 revenue of about 700 million euro. So, the combination will bring about a company with an expected 2017 turnover of over 1.8 billion euro.

The Accell – Pon combination will raise concerns at competition authorities in especially the Netherlands and Germany as well as in Brussels. Accell and Pon are investigating what this could bring. Financial analysts are already indicating that a takeover block by competition authorities could be overcome by selling one or more brands.

Finally, speculations are already circulating about who the new superpower in cycling is to lead. As Takens is to step down before the end of this month the likely candidate is Pon Bike Group’s senior vice president Armin Landgraf. Bike Europe interviewed him in April 2016 on Pon.Bike’s global ambitions.

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