Optimal to buy back shares of FireOne Group

15 December 2006

Optimal Group has announced its intention to purchase all of the issued and outstanding shares of FireOne Group, operator of the Firepay e-Wallet. Optimal, which listed shares of Fireone on London's Alternative Investment Market in June 2005, currently retains 74 percent of the company's shares.

Optimal's offer of 60p per share values the entire share capital of FireOne at £32.4 million. FireOne shares closed at 53.5p on Thursday, December 14, the last business day before the offer.

Shares of Fireone plummeted from 176.5p to 58.5p on October 1, 2006, the first day of trading following the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act through the U.S. Congress.

FireOne's independent committee, which is being advised by Numis Securities "has concluded that the option most likely to deliver a certain return for FireOne shareholders in an acceptable timeframe is a sale of the business." The independent committee has also noted "the significantly reduced prospects for the FireOne business as an independent listed entity" and has found the offer from Optimal to "represent a premium both to recent trading levels and to any level (they) might expect the FireOne share to trade in the short to medium term."

Optimal says it intends to develop the business of FireOne Group as a private company "through possible alternative uses for the FirePay Wallet and an expansion of the credit card acquiring business currently operated by the FireOne Group."

Optimal to buy back shares of FireOne Group is republished from