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Molten Ventures agrees £41m deal to acquire Forward Partners

By Josh White

Date: Monday 27 Nov 2023

Molten Ventures agrees £41m deal to acquire Forward Partners

(Sharecast News) - Molten Ventures announced an agreement on a recommended all-share offer for the acquisition of Forward Partners on Monday.
The London-listed firm said Forward Partners shareholders would receive one new Molten share for every nine scheme shares.

Based on the last closing price of 279.6p, the entire issued share capital of Forward Partners was valued at £41.4m on a fully diluted basis.

Molten also announced a proposed equity raise of £50m through a non-preemptive placing, subscription of new Molten shares, and an offer on the PrimaryBid platform for 270p per share.

BlackRock - Forward Partners' largest shareholder - had committed to subscribing for up to £25m worth of placing shares at the issue price.

Molten's board said it saw a solid strategic and financial rationale for the acquisition, given the ongoing pressures in the venture market due to global economic instability, high inflation, and extended deal timelines.

It said Forward Partners' well-balanced portfolio aligned with its investment focus, especially in applied artificial intelligence (AI), alternative assets, and digital marketplaces.

The acquisition would provide additional resources and support for Forward Partners' portfolio companies and enable the enlarged Molten Group to explore new investment opportunities.

Molten's directors added that the integration would enhance the group's position in the European venture capital market.

The acquisition remained subject to certain conditions and was expected to become effective in February.

Molten and Forward Partners said they would engage with stakeholders to satisfy those conditions.

"Forward Partners has a balanced and well-capitalised portfolio of 43 high-quality companies and, through combining our considerable resources, experience and networks, we will be even better placed both to support our existing portfolio companies and to capture attractive investment opportunities amid a buyer's market for venture capital," said chief executive officer Martin Davis.

"The deal would provide Molten with a broader and more diverse pipeline through access to Forward Partners' early-stage deal flow opportunities in fast growing sub-sectors like applied AI and digital marketplaces, and also acts as something of a homecoming for Forward Partners' senior investment team, who are well known to us, and will bring expertise and an investment philosophy which chimes with our own in support of Europe's most ambitious founders."

At 0823 GMT, shares in Molten Ventures were down 0.15% at 279.18p.

Reporting by Josh White for


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