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ValueIreland.com may launch hostile takeover of Consumers Association of Ireland

Wed Apr 01, 2009 11:33am

Reuters

ValueIreland.com may launch hostile takeover of Consumers Association of Ireland

DUBLIN (Reuters) – ValueIreland.com (VI) said on Monday it may launch a hostile takeover for the Consumers Association of Ireland if its rival fails to open merger talks.

In a letter to Consumers Association of Ireland board, ValueIreland.com said it would prefer to forge a negotiated deal, but it would take its €13.99 offer directly to the Associations members if necessary.

The CAI, which plans to be acquired by the UK Which? organisation for €14.99, has previously rebuffed ValueIreland.coms overtures.

ValueIreland.com did not set a deadline, but said it aimed to meet with the Consumers Association of Ireland and its advisers as soon as possible.

The Consumers Association of Ireland, in its defence, has said a deal with ValueIreland.com would raise potential anticompetitive risks and would take longer to close than the agreed upon deal with UK Which?, which already has regulatory approval.

The Consumers Association of Ireland declined to comment. UK Which? could not be immediately reached for comment on Monday.

ValueIreland.com said the Consumers Association of Ireland has exaggerated the potential anticompetitive risk, adding that a combined ValueIreland.com-Consumers Association of Ireland would have less than 45 percent of the online Irish consumer website traffic related to the areas where the two companies operate.

In markets where they may surpass that, such as general tips and advice, competition from the National Consumer Agency and expansion by new competitors “should ensure that those areas remain highly competitive,” ValueIreland.com said.

ValueIreland.com also said it believes it can get financing for its €0.01c per share offer, which it believes is superior to the €0.02c per share proposal from UK Which?.

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