Whispir’s founder, Jeromy Wells, who holds about 10 per cent of the company, had held out and not accepted Soprano’s bid until Monday. The company told investors that no superior offer had emerged despite discussions about an alternative proposal.
Mr Wells’ decision to support the Soprano bid means it is likely to succeed.
EVP had backed a start-up it invested in, Pendula, in its attempt to gain control of Whispir. It had offered more money per share, but its bid was conditional whereas Soprano’s offer was unconditional and offered rapid payment.
Pendula’s offer for Whispir was not essential to its business, and it will continue as an independent start-up with significant venture backing.
Whispir initially preferred Pendula’s proposal, but Soprano repeatedly improved the price and terms of its offer. An independent advice firm, RSM Corporate Australia, eventually concluded that Soprano’s most recent offer was fair and reasonable.
Pendula and EVP, which effectively bowed out of the running late last year, declined to comment. In a statement, Soprano urged Whispir shareholders to accept its offer and said it planned to take the business off the exchange once it was accepted.
That could leave any remaining minority shareholders with scant liquidity, limited reporting and transparency if they did not sell.