Smart Metering shareholders oppose £1.3bn KKR deal

Shareholders of Glasgow-based Smart Metering Systems plc (SMS) who say they represent 17.8% of the firm’s issued share capital have announced they will vote against a proposal announced on December 7 by US-based private equity firm KKR and its affiliates to take SMS private in an all-cash deal for about £1.3 billion.

The shareholders involved are Primestone Capital LLP and Smart Metering Systems founders Alan Foy and Steve Timoney.

SMS said on December 7 its directors intended to unanimously recommend that shareholders vote in favour of the deal.

The £9.55 per-share offer represents a premium of 40.4% to the stock’s close on December 6.

Primestone Capital and Foy and Timoney said in a joint stock exchange statement: “Long-term shareholder PrimeStone and the founders are collectively interested in or are able to control the voting rights in respect of 23,827,659 ordinary shares in Smart Metering Systems plc (SMS), representing approximately 17.8% of SMS’s issued share capital.

“PrimeStone and the founders noted the announcement of the cash offer for SMS by funds advised by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. and its affiliates of 955 pence in cash …

“PrimeStone and the founders are disappointed with the offer price and intend to vote against (or procure the exercise of relevant voting rights against) the offer.”

SMS employs about 1,500 people, primarily in the UK.