A consortium of investors with connections to Israel have tabled a takeover offer for the company behind Travelex.
Finablr (FIN.L), the owner of Travelex and other money changing businesses such as UAE Exchange, said on Tuesday it had received a takeover approach from Prism Advanced Solutions.
The exact terms of the deal were not disclosed but both sides are understood to now be entering formal talks to thrash out details of a potential deal.
“After months of hard work under very trying liquidity conditions compounded by the impact of the coronavirus on our operations, I am excited to now go forward with Prism,” said Bhairav Trivedi, Finablr’s chief executive.
Prism Advanced Solutions’ offer is the first takeover approach since Finablr shares were suspended in London in March. Finablr’s chief executive left the business at the time and the company warned of “material” uncertainty about its future. Shares had fallen 95% before their suspension.
Finablr was caught up in an accounting scandal that brought down former FTSE 100 hospital business NMC Health. NMC and Finablr were both founded by Indian-born Middle Eastern billionaire businessman BR Shetty. NMC collapsed after hidden debt was uncovered on its balance sheet. In May, Finablr said it too had uncovered $1bn (£771.4m) of hidden debt on its balance sheet.
Trivedi said staff had worked “at reduced or zero pay for some months and this deal is only possible thanks to their hard work and sacrifice.”
“We now enter a new chapter in the company's history,” he said. “We thank all our clients, regulators, creditors, advisors, and vendors who stood by us during these trying times.”
Few details were given about Prism Advanced Solutions, other than it is fronted by Guy Rothschild. Rothschild is a Swiss-based financier who formerly served as chief finance officer at Maclaren, a company making children’s buggies. He is still a director at the firm.
“We acknowledge that it's going to be a challenging journey and that there would be difficulties along the way, but we are confident that with the support from all parties involved we will realize Finablr's full potential,” Rothschild said in a statement.
“Finablr offers a huge opportunity in the digital payments space across multiple emerging markets and its assets and proprietary technology positions it for further global growth.”
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Companies House filings show Prism Advanced Solutions was incorporated last November. As well as Rothschild, the business’ two other directors are listed as Amir Nagammy and Tareq Jaafar Al Wazzan.
A spokesperson for Finablr declined to comment on who was behind Prism.
Rothschild said the deal represented “the first major UAE-Israeli commercial transaction,” without elaborating on the Israeli connection.
UAE and Israel reached a historic peace deal in mid-September that established diplomatic relations between the two countries for the first time in history.
“We are very thankful to the UAE leadership and authorities who have been incredibly supportive of us,” Rothschild said. “We look forward to working closely with them in the revival of the Company.”
HE Abubaker Al Khoori, chief executive of UAE’s Royal Strategic Partners, said: “We welcome our new international investors and are excited about the opportunity to re-build a strong global remittance and digital payment platform headquartered in Abu Dhabi.”
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