Spark eyes Sputz

Early stage technology investor, NewMedia SPARK has announced a public tender to acquire a majority stake in German broking and venture capital firm, Spütz. SPARK is offering a price of euro8.50 per share and has already entered into an agreement to acquire 26.4% of the company. SPARK’s aim is to acquire sufficient further shares to give it at least 51% of the share capital of Spütz.

The acquisition of a majority stake in Spütz will provide SPARK with a quoted vehicle to further expand its existing operations in the German market. In addition, it will enable Spark to maximise the value of Spütz’s operating businesses and investments.

Headquartered in Dusseldorf, with operations in Frankfurt, Spütz is listed on the Frankfurt stock exchange. SPARK’s intention is to maintain this listing following its acquisition of 51% control. There are extensive synergies between the Spütz business and SPARK’s existing portfolio, which includes investments in on-line financial transaction platforms. Spütz’s portofolio of holdings includes a number of financial businesses operating both on- and off-line. For example, it owns around 1% of Deutsche Börse and 11% of Tullett & Tokyo Liberty, as well as majority ownership in significant German broking operations. The firm also owns stakes in technology-related, pre-IPO businesses and has been developing its venture capital business to complement its financial services business. It also has fund management operations.

“This is an important deal for SPARK,” says Michael Whitaker, SPARK’s CEO. “We view the German markets as having particularly interesting potential at the present time, both for venture capital investments and for amalgamating technology-based financial platforms with traditional broking operations.”

In Germany, venture capital and broking businesses tend to be much more closely aligned than in the UK.