Carol Galley to net £280,000 as Dream Direct reverses into Willisham

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The Independent Online

Dream Direct, a software mail order company backed by the former fund manager Carol Galley, is to reverse into an AIM-listed cash shell as it seeks to expand its share of the family games market.

The company, which sells a range of family orientated computer software, is paying up to £2.3m in shares and loan notes for Willisham and raising £300,000 in a placing.

Robert Colquhoun, the chief executive who co-founded Dream four years ago with Ollie Vintcent, a former investment banker at HSBC, said that admission to AIM would provide the capital for accessing other routes to market, such as television shopping. "We've found you can get knocked sideways, such as after 11 September, and [the listing] will provide a strong cushion of cash," he said.

Shares in Dream are expected to start trading at the end of the month, valuing the company at £7.58m. Willisham shareholders are expected to hold 23 per cent of the listed group.

Ms Galley – the City "Ice Maiden" who co-founded Mercury Asset Management – stands to net about £280,000 from her current investment. Other prominent private investors include Chris Poll, a Dream board member who built his former company Micropal, the financial information provider, into a global business before selling it to the Standard & Poor's rating agency. Mr Poll's stake – 8.6 per cent – will be worth £500,000.

Willisham, known as Sentry Farming before selling its agricultural business in 1999, spent two years looking for a partner for a reverse takeover before approaching Dream at the end of last year. Jim Godfrey, Willisham's chairman, will join Dream's board as a non-executive director.

Mr Colquhoun said Dream, which had sales of £2.7m in the nine months to December 2001, would make an operating profit in the second half.

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