Alchemy ends Imprint talks

Alchemy Partners, the private equity investor led by the mercurial Jon Moulton, has decided not to pursue its planned buyout of listed recruitment company Imprint.

Alchemy started talks a month ago about a possible offer at £79.5m (€116.6m). The deal was considered opportunistic as it was 31% below Imprint’s 52-week high of 303p.

Moulton’s firm entered talks after rival recruiter OPD Group was forced to withdraw its cash and shares offer after its share price dropped.

Chief executive Brian Hamill was leading the possible buyout talks. He, and his management team, has reserved “the right to pursue an offer for the company, with the agreement of the independent directors, if approached by an interested party”.

In mid August Hamill said: “I do not know why the shares are below the suggested offer price. As far as I know due diligence is proceeding, although it is at an early stage. This would be Alchemy’s 22nd public to private deal.”

In addition, the independent directors have said that have “received a preliminary approach from an additional party, unconnected with the management team, which may or may not lead to an offer being made for the company”.

According to the City Code, Alchemy cannot make another offer now for three months, unless a rival one is first made. Altium is advising Imprint.