3i bars Orbital sale

Share slump rains on merger...
Written by Sonya Rabbitte, Contributor

Share slump rains on merger...

Venture capitalist 3i is to block the sale of knowledge management company Orbital to rival Sopheon, after a share slump affected the original £18m merger valuation. Orbital and Sopheon agreed on Monday to merge in an all share deal, with Sopheon taking a 52 per cent stake in Orbital, but since Monday Sopheon shares have dropped 36 per cent, affecting the original terms of the deal. Sopheon had agreed to pay eight of its shares for every nine Orbital shares, based on its September 13 closing price. The deal valued Orbital shares at 40p, doubled its actual closing price on 13 September, and left it with a market valuation of £18.4m. But Monday's slump now leaves Orbital's current value closer to £13m. 3i had previously backed the deal, but now claims the fall in share price makes the merger financially unviable.
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