Leading independent adviser Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) has thrown its weight behind the OnTheMarket Board and recommended shareholders vote ‘for’ the planned acquisition by CoStar UK at the Court and General Meeting next month.
ISS is a leading independent proxy voting and corporate governance advisory firm whose recommendation often influences how certain pension funds, investment managers, mutual funds and other institutional shareholders vote.
The OnTheMarket Board had already unanimously recommended the deal and the backing of ISS will give the prospect of the planned sale a major boost after coming in for criticism by City activist Brett Stone.
US giant CoStar made the £99 million bid last month, with the 110p per share offer price a 56% premium to the last close price, though below short-term levels seen in 2019 and 2021.
In a statement OnTheMarket welcomed the positive voting decision and reiterated its unanimous recommendation for Shareholders to vote in favour of the deal stating that CoStar was committed to“maintaining fair and sustainable pricing for agents and intends to continue charging agents a small proportion of Rightmove’s current charges”.
The statement also says: “CoStar is seeking to create the number one agent-friendly UK residential property portal and a genuine disruptor to the established market leaders.”
And it adds: “The level of investment CoStar intends to deploy represents a material acceleration of OnTheMarket’s existing strategy in this regard.
“CoStar will invest to grow traffic to OnTheMarket’s portal, for the benefit of OnTheMarket’s agent clients.”
The Neg reported earlier this month how Stone was continuing his sabre rattling against Washington D.C. based CoStar Group’s proposed acquisition of OnTheMarket AFTER the former’s lawyers Latham & Watkins requested he makes no more public statements.
Earlier this week he asked the UK government to investigate the proposed sale in his latest attempt to derail the £99 million deal.