Tech play 3P Learning lands $189m takeover offer at a premium
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Education software stock 3P Learning (ASX:3PL) has been handed an all-cash $189m takeover offer from larger rival IXL Australia this morning.
The $1.35-per-share bid is a 23 per cent premium to Thursday’s closing price. The news sent shares up as much as 31.5 per cent this morning to a peak of $1.44 — notching a new 52-week high.
3PL has several well-known education programs, like Mathletics and Spellodrome, that are used by 5 million students globally.
Meanwhile, IXL’s offerings also include maths and english-focused learning being used by 10 million users globally.
3PL’s board has unanimously backed the bid and recommended shareholders accept the deal.
“The scheme provides 3PL shareholders an opportunity to realise certain and immediate value for their shares, at a significant premium to recent trading and at an attractive valuation multiple,” chairman Sam Weiss said.
“We are pleased that a leading industry player such as IXL has recognised the strategic value of our company.”
IXL boss Paul Mishkin said the company was committed to continuing 3PL’s growth and supporting its customers.
2020 has seen the shift to online learning accelerated a lot quicker than had previously been the case.
However, 3P Learning’s full-year results, released this morning, didn’t reflect the massive shift.
As a company with software already heavily rolled out, 3PL said it was impacted by the restrictions around in-person meetings and the financial uncertainty of its clientele.
Net profit after tax fell by more than 70 per cent to $1.7m. But there was a slight 1 per cent increase in revenue to $54.9m.
3PL CEO Dimitri Aroney predicted growth would be stronger in the year ahead. But he admitted some uncertainty due to COVID-19 funding challenges remained in the Americas.