US suitor Par Technology prepared to pay a big premium to secure TASK Group for $288m

US suitor Par Technology prepared to pay a big premium to secure TASK Group for $288m

Photo: Jay Wennington via Unsplash

US-based hospitality technology company Par Technology Corporation has lobbed a $288 million takeover bid for TASK Group Holdings (ASX: TSK) with the suitor’s offer pitched at more than double the ASX-listed company’s most recent trading price.

The TASK Group board has unanimously recommended the offer which is priced at 81c cash per share – a 103 per cent premium to the shares’ 39c close last Friday 8 March.

However, through the scrip option, the offer is said to be worth up to 98c a share which would value the TASK takeover at up to $319 million.

The Sydney-based TASK Group, which provides specialist customer transaction services for the quick-service restaurant sector, has entered an agreement with Par Technology via a scheme of arrangement whereby shareholders can take a cash or scrip option, or a combination of these, that will see Par to acquire all of the Australian company’s shares.

TASK shareholders can receive up to 50 per cent of their consideration in PAR shares at a ratio of 0.015 PAR shares for each TASK share held with the balance payable in cash.

Based on the closing price of PAR shares on 8 March 2024 of $US43.41, the share consideration implies a value of 98c per TASK share.

The offer price represents a three-year high for TASK shareholders, supporting the company’s recommendation that shareholders accept the bid in the absence of a superior offer.

TASK CEO Daniel Houden says he is ‘excited by the combination of TASK and PAR’.

“It offers TASK a better base on which to achieve its international ambitions, provides a strong group with significant opportunities for our employees and provides certainty for our shareholders who have supported the growth of TASK to become a meaningful player in the global retail software market,” says Houden.

The takeover bid comes on the heels of TASK reporting a narrower bottom-line loss of $2.97 million in the first half of FY24, down from $4.59 million a year earlier.

However, the company’s operating profit surged 75 per cent to $3.29 million for the period, which Houden at the time said reflected ‘strong progress towards with the ongoing development and commercialisation of the TASK platform’.

TASK, which was founded in 2020, delivers centralised and integrated point-of-sale (POS) terminal management services, as well as real-time sales data and interactive customer engagement for hospitality venues including stadiums and casinos.

In 2021, TASK merged with Plexure to deliver technology and personalisation capabilities across the hospitality industry.

PAR Technology, which has a market valuation of US$1.2 billion ($1.8 billion) delivers cutting-edge products and services for the restaurant sector globally, with the company servicing more than 70,000 venues in 110 countries through its POS, digital ordering, loyalty and back-office software solutions.

“The combination of the two most complete technology solutions in our industry is incredibly exciting,” says Savneet Singh, the CEO of PAR Technology, following today’s takeover announcement.

“Together PAR and TASK will serve our respective customers globally and create a talent base we believe to be unmatched in the industry.”

The takeover offer is aimed at expanding PAR’s geographic coverage and providing a platform for international growth for the business, while adding TASK’s complementary customer base of major hospitality, stadium, foodservice and casino groups to the company’s venue offering.

Shares in TASK Group surged to a high of 82c in early trade and settled back to 78c at 10.30am (AEDT), up 95 per cent.

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