Agreed terms for a £70 million acquisition of Monitise by Fiserv reveal the scale of the challenges facing the once hotly-tipped UK mobile banking firm, which had failed to find a single buyer for its 'next-generation' FINkit software package.
Once valued at £1 billion, Monitise has been on a continuous downward spiral, issuing multiple revenue warnings and failing to turn a profit in its ten years as a listed company.
The firm posted widening losses of £243 million in its latest set of accounts to end-June 2016, reporting depressed revenue and a dwindling cash pile.
Having undergone multiple pivots over the years, Monitise was betting big on its FINkit software platform to turn the tide. However, despite its release in 2015, the firm has failed to find a single buyer for the package as banks turned away from its tarnished brand.
In the scheme documents for the proposed takeover, Fiserv lays bare the problems facing the company: "The challenges that the Company has experienced in seeking its first FINkit contract include: (i) the long and complex sales cycle when engaging with large financial institutions, (ii) customers’ perception of Monitise’s size and financial wherewithal compared to its customers and peers, (iii) the Company’s ability to continue to invest in and support FINkit given its current cash balance and usage, (iv) its position and history as a pioneer, compared to new and emerging FinTech competitors, and (v) the overall increased competition as the market in digital financial services evolves."
Shareholders in Monitise have railed against the 2.9 pence per share price offered by Fiserv, threatening to withdraw support for the bid in the absence of a more meaningful valuation. To this suggestion, Fiserv spells out the unappetising alternatives: "The Board recognises the growth challenges the Group as a whole continues to face were a transaction with Fiserv not to take place, and in the likely absence of any material FINkit signings in the near term the board will need to consider raising further capital, the divestment of businesses and the overall strategy of the Group."