Cardpoint mulls Moneybox merger

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The Independent Online

The cash machine company Cardpoint has emerged as a possible suitor for its smaller rival Moneybox, which said yesterday that it had received a number of takeover approaches. Moneybox shares rose 2.75p to 37.75p, giving the group a market value of £75m.

The cash machine company Cardpoint has emerged as a possible suitor for its smaller rival Moneybox, which said yesterday that it had received a number of takeover approaches. Moneybox shares rose 2.75p to 37.75p, giving the group a market value of £75m.

Loss-making Moneybox said yesterday that the talks were at an early stage and there could be no certainty that they would lead to a recommended offer.

The group received several abortive takeover approaches last autumn after Paul Stanley, its chief executive and founder, quit following a profit warning. Since then, Peter McNamara, who stepped up from non-executive chairman to chairman, has reorganised the business and slashed costs.

It is thought that Cardpoint has approached Moneybox to defend itself against a potential takeover bid from US rival Cardtronics, which together with TRM dominates the American cash machine market. A big private-equity firm is thought to be interested in acquiring Cardpoint together with Moneybox.

Moneybox's announcement came 24 hours after a parliamentary committee lambasted the industry for raking in £140m a year from consumers who want to access their own cash.

TRM has built a stake of about 10 per cent in Moneybox and is believed to have been behind an abortive takeover approach last October, along with some of Moneybox's UK rivals.

An insider said it was likely that the main players in the industry would want to look at Moneybox, hoping to achieve "economies of scale" in an increasingly competitive market, though it could also attract financial buyers. Cardpoint, with about 2,800 machines, has by far the biggest share of the charging cash machine market, accounting for about a third of transactions. Moneybox is second with 17 per cent of the market; followed by Hanco, which has been acquired by Royal Bank of Scotland, with 13 per cent, TRM with 12 per cent and Bank Machine with 8 per cent.

The talks between Moneybox and potential bidders look to be a precursor to more consolidation in the industry.

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