Findel in race for Novara

Findel is to outbid Alchemy for the educational supplies company after selling its stationery and card businesses.

Home-shopping company Findel has reportedly made a bid for Novara, an educational products firm based in the Midlands. Findel has moved fast after yesterday announcing the sale of its stationery and greetings card businesses to an MBO team for £20m.

Findel’s bid is worth 33p a share, 5p more than an offer of 28p a share from venture capitalist Alchemy, which Novara accepted two weeks ago. The Alchemy bid valued Novara at £25.5m, but the Findel bid has pushed shares up to 31.5p, increasing the firm’s value to about £29m.

Novara is in financial trouble, partly owing to a bad dotcom investment. It lost £3.9m last year compared with a £5.9m profit the year before.

Yesterday, Findel announced the £20m sale of Collisons and Webb Ivory to an MBO team.

Bradford-based Collisons supplies personalised stationery. Webb Ivory is based in Burton-on-Trent and supplies greeting cards to charities. Bernard Kumeta, CEO of Webb Ivory, and Matthew Sharp, former CEO of Creative Publishing and Hallmark Cards, are leading the MBO.

Leeds-based Fortis Bank and Fortis Commercial Finance supplied senior debt and mezzanine finance for the MBO. Findel is retaining a 30 per cent stake in the new business.