The US private equity firm’s interest in knowing the local outposts of global investment banks is a good sign for Nearmap shareholders. It means Thoma Bravo has found no major skeletons in Nearmap’s closet after spending more than a month inside, despite a short-seller report and a lawsuit with a US rival that spooked investors into listed shares in recent years.
Street Talk wouldn’t be surprised if Thoma’s crew had well-laminated, annotated copies of J Capital’s report and rival EagleView’s legal claims under their arms as they made their way through Nearmap’s data room. .
J Cap’s alleged Nearmap rooftop reports may infringe EagleView’s patents, and EagleView is suing. Nearmap denies everything.
EagleView’s original lawsuit filed last year claims eight patents related to aerial mapping technology were infringed and seeks unspecified damages. As it stands, the timeline for the case extends through 2023, based on the latest programming orders. Discovery isn’t done yet and it’s safe to say that it’s hard work for Nearmap.
Thoma’ arrives when he knows all this, Nearmap investors wonder if the private equity firm has weighed the potential fallout from legal claims and deemed them small enough to take on.
Then there’s also the fact that a take-private would remove Nearmap from the volatility of the listed markets announcements of the case. Under an EP owner, the business could breathe easy as the legal case unfolds.
Finally, Thoma’s approach (and Nearmap’s discretion and disclosure) forces bankers and boards to take notes on how to bid for beat stocks and get due diligence.
After sitting quietly on the confidential, non-binding, indicative offer and substantiating Thoma Bravo’s interest, Nearmap only disclosed the offer at the final hurdle.