Small Talk: Axis-Shield stands firm in the face of £230m Alere bid

 

Axis-Shield is not for turning. At least not yet. Last week, the medical diagnostics company, which makes machines to test for conditions such as diabetes, published details of why it had said no to an offer from its American rival Alere Inc.

The saga dates back to July, when Alere made an indicative approach pegged at 460p a share, valuing Axis, which has its headquarters in Dundee, at about £230m. The response was swift. Shortly after news of the offer emerged, Axis said the unsolicited and preliminary proposal fundamentally undervalued its business.

Unperturbed, Alere came back in early August, this time with a formal, all-cash offer of 460p per Axis share. Cue another response from the target, which reiterated its view that the money just wasn't good enough in light of the business and its prospects. Alere, however, went ahead and posted an offer document on 11 August, giving shareholders until this Thursday to send in their acceptances.

Axis, unsurprisingly, remains against the idea and, last week, it told everyone exactly why it was opposed to the bid, recommending that "shareholders do not accept the offer and should take no action". The company said 460p a share was not enough to pay for the benefits it was now seeing from its investment in its Afinion testing machine, or from the promise held by the global lipid/cholesterol market – estimated to be worth about $500m by 2013 – that it planned to enter with Afinion's European launch later this year.

Moreover, it said, there were numerous opportunities for growth in the diabetes market in Asia and other emerging markets, where it had placed more than 21,000 of its NycoCard diabetes testing systems. "Alere has identified Axis-Shield's strengths and growth potential but wants to buy your company cheaply," the company's chairman, Dr John Brown, said in a letter to shareholders.

If the stock price is any guide, then the market certainly appears to agree with him, with Axis's shares closing at 480.25p on Friday – more than the 460p Alere is offering. This isn't surprising given past speculation regarding the possibility of another offer emerging from a company such as Abbott, Roche or even Siemens. Similarly, analysts appear unconvinced, with Numis questioning comparisons with the likes of Consort Medical. Its analyst Charles Weston said: "Recent comments from Alere reported in the press ... justifying the valuation by comparing Axis-Shield to Consort Medical strain the bounds of credulity, in our view, given the widely differing performance, growth prospects and markets between the two companies."

The Axis-watchers at DnB NOR Markets are equally adamant that 460p is just not enough, particularly given the chance that another suitor may yet emerge. "If an industrial player like Abbott, Roche or Johnson & Johnson were to acquire Axis-Shield, Alere would face much tougher competition in the lipid [cholesterol] market," it said. "The risk of this scenario supports our view that Alere would be willing to raise its offer. This would also be in line with how Alere has acted in previous acquisitions."

So, in the event Alere does ultimately relent and raise its bid, what could shareholders expect? Well, if DnB NOR's base-case scenario is any guide, it may raise its bid by 10 to 20 per cent, while Investec reckons that "a fairer price would be between 530p and 570p".

Whatever happens, this is certainly a company to watch over the coming days and weeks.

MoneySwap hedges bets on Macau casino tie-up

Another week, another listing on the Alternative Investment Market (Aim). This time it is the Hong Kong-based MoneySwap, which is preparing for its admission this Wednesday. The online money-exchange platform, which allows businesses and individuals to use the Swift banking system to transfer funds across different regions, is raising just over £3m with the listing, which is expected to value the firm at about £20m.

The money swap, so to speak, takes place through Swift – an established network that allows banks to exchange messages with each other – and boasts low fees and no minimum quantity. Once the transfer is completed, funds can be withdrawn via a recipient's bank account, or loaded on to one of the pre-paid MoneySwap MasterCards that are issued by partner banks.

The firm company currently has its sights set on the small businesses active in imports and exports in the Asia-Pacific region. Alongside this, Money-Swap said it is also targeting the many millions of remittances made by migrant labourers throughout Asia, and also at the lucrative gaming sector.

For the latter, it is working with the operators of the Melco Crown and Genting casino in Macau – China's answer to Las Vegas. The idea is to adapt the MoneySwap platform to allow visitors to deposit funds and receive payouts "in their place of departure and currency of choice", rather than at the casino in Macau.

This year is also set to bring a product launch, with Money-Swap gearing up to unveil its QuickPayIT solution in the third quarter. This will allow individuals to pay merchants for goods and services without either one having to enter or receive banking information, according to the company.

"We are delighted to be bringing MoneySwap on to the London Stock Exchange's Aim market," said Richard Proksa, the chief executive of MoneySwap. "The LSE has an exceptional standing in the minds of Asia-Pacific businesses and we see great competitive local advantage in being able to demonstrate that our company, processes and management team have all met the stringent requirements set by the LSE."

News
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
A polar bear’s diet is rich in seal blubber and half of its own body weight is composed of fat
i100
Life and Style
fashion David Beckham fronts adverts for his underwear collection
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
tv
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
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

Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Desktop, Surrey)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Deskto...

Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Desktop, Surrey)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Deskto...

Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Support, Help desk)

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape