Working in conjunction with accountant and corporate finance adviser KPMG, Business XL discovered that between January 2001 and December 2004 a total of 360 companies left AIM for various reasons.
By far the largest battalion of these (some 42 per cent) were subject to reverse takeovers – a process through which a listed company acquires a larger firm and then typically hands over the management reins of the combined group to those running the latter firm. Such departures should thus be considered ‘technical’ exits only, as the companies in question are readmitted to market following deal completion.
Of the 208 quoted entities leaving AIM once and for all, 19 graduated to a senior market and a further 81 were purchased in transactions worth a combined £2.76 billion. Recent examples of such acquisitions have seen restaurant operator ASK Central taken private by Riposte for £212.9 million and fully listed lastminute.com snap up Online Travel in a £60 million deal.
Business XL also found that certain sectors seem to attract more buyers than others, with the media (14), leisure (13), support service (9) and financial (8) all well represented.
‘Almost half of all companies leaving AIM over the last four years have done so for positive reasons,’ remarked Christopher Spink (Business XL’s head of research) summarising the reports findings and this ‘suggests the market has proven to be a success overall’.