Football pitch firm Goals Soccer Centres in £73m takeover

 

Five-a-side football pitch operator Goals Soccer Centres was today poised for a £73.1 million takeover by one of the world's biggest pension funds.

Announcing a deal with the directors of Goals, Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, which owns lottery operator Camelot, said it planned to invest £40 million in adding 25 sites to the 44-strong Goals estate over the next five years.

Its move comes after Patron Capital Partners, which owns a controlling stake in Goals rival Powerleague, said this month it was also mulling a bid.

East Kilbride-based Goals, which employs 800 people, agreed a deal with Ontario in the absence of any firm intention from Patron to make an offer.

Powerleague owner Patron said it was "considering its options" and urged Goals shareholders to "take no action".

Goals shares leapt another 9%, having soared in recent weeks on hopes of a takeover battle.

Ontario Teachers, which is already home to a number of leading Canadian sports assets such as the Toronto FC Major League Soccer team, described its 144p-a-share bid for Goals as a "win-win for investors".

It wants to expand Goals across the UK and also overseas, building on the one site currently owned in the US.

Jo Taylor, vice president of Ontario Teachers, said: "We believe that this will be a win-win for investors, employees and the thousands of players who enjoy using Goals' facilities each week.

"Our aim is to cement Goals' position as the UK's premier five-a-side operator and help the business to achieve its full potential."

Ontario Teachers invests the pension assets and administers the pensions of 295,000 active and retired teachers in Ontario.

It has invested more than £4 billion in the UK, with other British assets including a 49% stake in Bristol Airport, while it is also the largest shareholder in Birmingham Airport.

Goals has been run by Keith Rogers since 2000 and he holds an 8% stake in the company.

But Mr Rogers and his management tend intend to remain with the business and reinvest £6 million after the sale - around 65% of their holding.

Goals has put in a resilient performance amid the wider economic woes in the UK, with underlying profits increasing by 11% to £13.8 million in 2011.

A typical Goals centre has between nine and 14 floodlit courts with pitches made from artificial grass, which is designed to look and feel like real turf, parking for about 100 cars and a licensed bar. Around three-quarters of its revenues came from football bookings during 2011.

It added more than 10 new centres to its estate in the last two years - most recently at Sunderland, Liverpool, Norwich and Hull.

Potential rival bidder Powerleague has 45 floodlit five-a-side football centres, with 470 pitches used by more than 130,000 players each week.

It has said it believes there are potential more than 100 centres in the UK.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jay Z has placed a bet on streaming being the future for music and videos
music
Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury
music
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Ashdown Group: IT Manager / Development Manager - NW London - £58k + 15% bonus

£50000 - £667000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant / Telemarketer - OTE £20,000

£13000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...

Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manager - City, London

£40000 - £45000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manag...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own