Cash machine group Cardpoint rises on mystery bid approach

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Shares in Cardpoint, the cash machine operator, leapt 11 per cent yesterday, after the company confirmed it had received an approach and was in tentative talks with the bidder.

The company, which operates more than 1,800 fee-charging cash machines across the country, said the discussions were at an early stage.

In a short statement to the market yesterday morning, the group said: "In response to the movement in its share price, Cardpoint confirms that it has received a preliminary approach regarding a potential offer for the company.

"Initial discussions are currently taking place to assess the seriousness of the approach. These discussions are at a very early stage and accordingly, there can be no certainty that any offer will be made. A further announcement will be made in due course."

Last summer, Cardpoint, whose chief executive is Mark Mills, bought the rival cash machine operator Moneybox but it issued a profits warning five months later in November. In the months since, the group has stripped out its loss-making machines, and in January it said that trading was back on track.

The company's only other UK-quoted rival, Scott Tod, said it had also received an offer last month. It has not provided the market with an update.

It is not known who is bidding for either company but it is thought that the interest may be coming from across the Atlantic.

Goldman Sachs is the largest shareholder in Cardpoint and also among the larger shareholders in Scott Tod. It has been rumoured that Goldman may be holding shares for a US group, possibly TRM, that is interested in bidding for both companies. GE Capital has also been mentioned as a potential interested bidder.

A London-based hedge fund, Cycladic, is believed to have bought a large amount of shares in the company on the back of bid rumours in recent days.

Shares in Cardpoint closed up 7.1 per cent yesterday at 109.75p, giving the company a market value of more than £115m.