9 May 2019

Biz Bytes - Why has Trade Me left the share market?

From First Up, 5:35 am on 9 May 2019

TradeMe was officially de-listed from the New Zealand Stock Exchange yesterday after it was bought by a private equity firm. RNZ Business reporter Madison Reidy breaks down what's happened. 

Trade Me is just one of a handful of companies that's been purchased by overseas investors.

These are investment companies - known as private equity firms - and they're always on the lookout for anything profitable enough to add to their ranks. 

In Trade Me's case - the British firm Apax Partners, snapped it up for $2.6 billion. 

The deal was completed after being approved by shareholders, the court, and the overseas investment office.

So now, Trade Me has been removed from the New Zealand and Australian sharemarkets.

Worldwide these private equity companies have trillions of dollars to spend on such takeovers, and their appetite seems to be growing.

Over the years, the NZX has lost TradeMe, Tegel, Tilt Renewables, Hellaby Holdings and Goodman Fielder.

Just last month, a Mexican firm took over the majority of the fast food company Restaurant Brands, paying $1.2 billion for it. 

So the case of the shrinking share market continues. 

But whose fault is it? 

Should we not be celebrating the success of Kiwi companies garnering overseas attention? 

Well, blame has been thrown at the NZX itself for not doing enough to keep companies, or entice new ones. 

But, a recent report out of Australia proved just how difficult it is to compete with private equity firms.

It said they're so cashed up, they're worth about $US3 trillion together. 

That's 15 times the size of New Zealand's entire economy. 

The reality is if they open up their cheque books and offer a good enough price then company boards and shareholders will take the money and run.