Patron enters takeover battle for Goals

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The Independent Online

Retired Canadian teachers may have to go to extra time in their attempt to buy Goals Soccer Centres, after the owners of rival five-a-side football outfit Powerleague joined the fray.

Shares in Goals shot up 7 per cent or 9.5p to 136.5p amid hopes of a takeover battle as the company said Patron Capital, the private-equity group behind Powerleague, had approached Goals and started due diligence on its books.

Until now, Goals' only wooer was the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, which approached the five-a-side operator in April with a deal valued at up to £77m.

Now Aim-listed Goals, which runs 42 football sites across the UK – many of them former school playing-fields – plus one in Los Angeles, says it is still talking to the Canadian pension fund as well as looking at Patron's approach.

The Ontario fund owns National Lottery operator Camelot in Britain as well as the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team in its native land.

It has a "put up or shut up" deadline to make a firm offer for Goals or walk away by next Monday.

Goals netted a 21 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to £9.2m last year, on revenues up 9 per cent to £30.4m.