Samsung reportedly backs out of $83 million acquisition of Aussie audio startup


Nuheara founders Justin Miller and David Cannington. Source: supplied.

Technology giant Samsung reportedly offered to acquire Australian audio tech startup Nuheara in an $82.5 million deal, but allegedly ditched the offer at the last minute after realising the deal would need to be disclosed to the market.

In a market update, ASX-listed Nuheara revealed it was on the capital-raising warpath, conducting a bookbuild for a placement of shares to institutional, sophisticated and professional investors.

As part of this announcement, the company also revealed it had received a letter of intent from a “large multinational consumer electronics company” to acquire all of the company’s 982 million shares for $0.084 per share, a deal worth some $82.5 million.

The offer price represents a near 35% premium on the company’s current share price, which is sitting at $0.055.

The Australian Financial Review reports the company in question was in fact Samsung, a $US221 billion ($314 billion) South Korean technology company.

The deal also included a number of conditions, including an unanimous recommendation from the board to shareholders on the bid, entry into a mutually acceptable scheme implementation agreement, and for Nuheara to divest of all its mining-related interests.

Nuheara completed a backdoor listing onto the ASX in 2016 through the acquisition of resources company Wild Acre Metals. It has since raised more than $20 million in capital from investors.

However, the deal with Samsung did not go ahead, as Nuheara told the company it would be required to provide a cleansing notice, to inform the market of its capital-raising efforts, which would involve disclosing the company’s name and its letter of intent.

After realising this, Samsung withdrew its offer. In the statement, Nuheara says it has had “no indication that the Counterparty or any other party will present any offer for the Company in the future”.

“Nuheara continues to be focused on the development of its technology and products and pursuing Nuheara’s aspiration to be the global hearing leader by providing more functional, affordable and accessible hearable products,” the statement said.

“Nuheara will update shareholders of any further developments in accordance with its continuous disclosure obligations.”

Speaking to StartupSmart in 2017, co-founder Justin Miller said the company chose fundraising via the ASX over VC capital because it wanted to “remain Australian”.

“We listed on the ASX very early on and showed that path as a means to raise capital,” he said at the time.

“We used it [the ASX listing] as a marketing and validation tool.”

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