Franchise theatre schools business Stagecoach Theatre Arts has agreed a 65p a share bid from Lifeskills Education.
The share price has not been that high for more than three years but it is well below the flotation price. The bid values Stagecoach at £6.5m.
Lifeskills Education is owned by former City professional Shirin Gandhi. The management team of Stephanie Manuel (joint managing director), Richard Dawson (finance director) and Manzoor Ishani (franchise development director) will own 37.5% of Lifeskills plus loan notes of £1.13m. Dawson and Ishani will take cuts in salary. Henry Meikle will become chairman of Lifeskills and own 5%.
Gandhi believes that Stagecoach needs to invest more to achieve its full potential. This will be a longer-term strategy that could hamper short-term figures.
The recession has made trading tough. Network revenues were flat at £29.3m in the year to May 2011, while Stagecoach’s own revenues fell from £6.22m to £5.99m. The interim figures showed a drop in network fees and a further decline in the revenues of Stagecoach, which fell into loss. There was a small drop in the number of students. The second half is always more profitable but full year profit is likely to be down on the £650,000 made in 2010-11. There is still potential for international growth.
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