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Fiserv bids £70m for UK tech firm Monitise – three years after £1bn market cap

Financial services company Fiserv has stepped in to table a £70m offer for troubled technology business Monitise, after share price erosion of 96 per cent in three years.
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The £70m offer represents a significant decline in the value of Monitise, which in 2014 boasted a share price of more than 80.0p per share and a market capitalisation exceeding £1bn. However, Monitise’s share price has fallen by 96 per cent since, as it struggled with large losses and competition from other mobile payment systems.

Montise has been up for sale since 2015 following the resignation of former CEO Elizabeth Buse – after which time deputy CEO and chief commercial officer Lee Cameron took over.

Founded by Alastair Lukies and Steven Atkinson in 2003, Monitise was at the forefront of mobile banking and payments innovation. After listing on London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in 2007, the business went about closing a number of its own acquisitions – including those of mobile innovation and design agency Grapple Mobile and discount code platform MyVoucherCodes.

The business was featured in the Real Business 30 To Watch In Mobile list of 2013, and in an exclusive interview Lukies described the market opportunity Monitise had – particularly on an international level.

He said: “When we sell our service to a bank, we say: ‘You don’t have to worry about taking this on and building the servers or about ensuring that it works on every device. We will do that for you.’ We’re a mixture of a software and a services company.”

Commenting on the acquisition, current CEO Cameron said: “We are proud of the talented people and innovative technology solutions across the Monitise businesses. Fiserv is well-positioned to carry this business forward given its strength in digital banking and extensive client network.”

Peter Ayliffe, chairman of Montiise, said the company’s board had considered in “great detail” the best interests of all stakeholders. Noting the growth challenges Monitise continues to face, Ayliffe and the board believed the Fiserv all-cash offer provided shareholders with certainty of value at a level in excess of the risk adjusted prospects of Monitise on a standalone basis.

In 2015, The Telegraph described Montise as a contender for “car crash of the year” after shares dipped 90 per cent in value during the preceding 12 months. Citing a combination of big losses, major clients pulling out and three different CEOs in a year, it marked a big fall from Monitise’s position as one of Britain’s leading technology companies.

For a number of years it was featured in growth charts such as Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 and was third in the Forbes Most Innovative Growth Companies of 2014. It’s value during 2013 and 2014 gave it the label of “unicorn”, a business with a value of £1bn or more.

The acquisition is expected to complete in the third quarter of 2017, after which it is not yet known what Fiserv plans to do with Monitise’s current operations and partnerships.

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About Author

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven is the editor of Real Business. He is also the editor of Business Advice, a title focused solely on a section of the business community currently underserved – micro companies. Alongside this, he is part of the team that hosts the Growing Business Awards, First Women Awards and Future 50 initiative.

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