Spark profits from Deutsche Borse

NewMedia Spark has realised a profit on portfolio company Spütz’s disposal of a 1% stake in Deutsche Börse for €37.2 million. Spark acquired a 54% controlling stake in the German broking and venture capital firm Spütz last September. At the time of the acquisition, the stake in Deutsche Börse was worth around €30 million.

Director Joel Plasco said the disposal of the stake was not necessarily an exit for Spark, but rather a price-sensitive event for the firm. Spütz had no borrowings prior to the sale of its Deutsche Börse shareholding and now holds substantial cash balances.

Plasco said of the sale: “We realised that in order to revitalise the Spütz business, we needed to realise some of the stakes it held to give the company a good cash position.” He added: “The disposal of the Deutsche Börse holding gives Spütz the funds to go out and develop its business strategy.” In addition to its core broking activities Spütz retains a 11% shareholding in Tullett & Tokyo Liberty and a 17% share in Lang & Schwarz. Spark continues to the review the prospects for further disposals from the Spütz portfolio of non-core assets. Plasco says the next in line will probably be the shareholding in Tullett & Tokyo Liberty, although he adds that this will not be as easily disposable as it is a private company.

Spark acquired a majority shareholding in Spütz last year, following controversy over the bid amid Germany’s takeover commission. Spark’s bid was thought to have violated its voluntary takeover code because it did not extend an official takeover offer, but only an “invitation” to Spütz ‘s shareholders to offer their shares to Spark.