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Jon Macdonald to stay on as Trade Me boss through takeover tussle

Monday 10th December 2018

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Trade Me chief executive Jon Macdonald will stay on at the online marketplace as it weighs up two multi-billion-dollar takeover offers from overseas private equity firms. 

Macdonald had planned to leave the company this month after a decade in the top job, having joined Trade Me in 2003. That's now being put on hold, and he will lead the company on an interim basis due to the rival bids by Apax Partners and Hellman & Friedman. 

The company said it will provide news on a new CEO appointment in due course. 

The competing firms have been invited to undertake due diligence by Trade Me's board, having each lobbed in indicative bids. Apax kicked off the bidding, offering $6.40 a share, or $2.54 billion and was trumped a fortnight later when Hellman & Friedman came in with a $6.45 a share price, or $2.56 billion. 

Before the initial bid was made public, Trade Me's share price was $5.10. It's since jumped closer to the offer prices, recently trading at $6.17, down from a record $6.26 last week. 

British firm Apax makes long-term investments in technology, services, healthcare and consumer industries, targeting large firms valued at 1-5 billion euros. Its portfolio includes several e-commerce companies such as Israel-based Global-e Online and MatchesFashion.com, a British-based predominantly online global luxury goods retailer, and Moda Operandi. 

Hellman & Friedman is a US private equity fund manager which focuses on large-scale equity deals in select sectors. Last year it was one of several bidders for Australian publisher Fairfax Media Group and its online real estate listings unit Domain. Fairfax is a former owner of Trade Me.

(BusinessDesk)

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