Manager of Quester VCT5 plc acquired by NewMedia SPARK plc
14 May 2007, London - It was announced today that Quester, the leading early
stage UK venture capital firm and manager of Quester VCT5 plc ("Quester VCT5")
has been acquired by NewMedia SPARK plc ("SPARK"), the AIM listed technology
venture capital company focused on early stage investment (AIM: NMS).
Your board believes that the acquisition by SPARK will provide greater access
to some of the UK's best early stage entrepreneurs and investment managers as
well as broaden the investment opportunities available to the Quester managed
funds and VCTs. The combined group has the potential to deliver enhanced
long-term returns for our investors, additional investment opportunities, and a
wider spread of investments. The board of Quester VCT 5 has been involved in
the process and has considered the plans proposed for the future management of
Quester VCT5 which will be carried forward on the existing basis.
Together, the combined group will manage funds of over £275 million including
the Quester Venture Partnership - an institutional fund, the three Quester
managed VCT funds - Quester VCT plc, Quester VCT4 plc and Quester VCT5, and
University funds linked to nine universities including Oxford.
SPARK has a focus on new media, with a particular emphasis on digital media,
software applications, technology and communications, which complements
Quester's own activities in this area. Quester's strong healthcare business
will be developed alongside SPARK's new focus in this area.
Your board believes that the SPARK team has extensive experience of early stage
investment and, in addition to its track record developed since the difficult
dotcom period, has a strong balance sheet which should provide opportunities
for access to new sources of capital. This enables SPARK to invest in new
opportunities on an on-going basis, and to support its portfolio of investments
over the long term, a premise which is central to Quester's own investment
Commenting on the acquisition, Andrew Holmes, Chairman of Quester, said:
"There is a great synergy between Quester and SPARK. The merger will drive the
future development of our business, to the benefit of investors in the Quester
managed funds and VCTs. In particular, the deal will provide access to broader
deal flow and increased capital, as well as the additional early stage
investment expertise of SPARK's team. The deal brings together two highly
compatible companies with common values and a track record of co-investment,
including Footfall which was successfully sold to Experian in 2006. We believe
that the acquisition will benefit both Quester's investors and its portfolio
companies and we look forward to our future together."
Andrew Carruthers, Chief Executive of SPARK, said:
"We are pleased to be able to make this significant move in building upon our
position in the investment community as one of the leading early-stage European
venture investors by welcoming the Quester team. SPARK has demonstrated strong
growth in net assets and a number of successful exits recently, after the
difficult post-dotcom years. We have co-invested with Quester a number of times
over that period and see them as one of only a few high quality participants in
our sector. We plan to use this combined platform to build further funds under
management and deliver long-term growth in shareholder value"
Andrew Holmes/ John Spooner
020 7222 5472
07711 608747/ 020 7307 5339