Exclusive: Leverate Rebuffs Buyout Offer, Further Investment from Simon Kukes May Follow

While rumors abound, Leverate announces that it has rejected outside offers while welcoming further investments from Simon Kukes.

The target of rumors about their future due to management turnover and the stepping down of founders from operational roles, Leverate has announced: “we are not and have not actively or passively sought a buyer for Leverate”.  Leverate has also revealed to Finance Magnates that Simon Kukes has plans to increase his stake in the technology provider for online brokers.

The rumors and subsequent statement occur as Leverate had a busy year internally during 2015. In February 2015, Simon Kukes, the former CEO of Russian oil firm Yukos, was reported to have purchased a 12.5% stake in Leverate. The purchase was part of a 25% stake in the company that had been purchased by Saxo Bank and subsequently sold back to Leverate management with Kukes buying half the position.

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Later in March 2015, longtime CEO and company co-founder Ran Strauss announced that he was stepping down after seven years of managing the firm. Strauss’s position was later filled in May 2015 with the appointment of former Playtech executive Kobi Gur. 2015 ended with the creation of LegacyFX, a retail broker headed by Leverate former employees and including common shareholders.

With the internal changes, Leverate’s day to day operations include only two of the firm’s four co-founders; CTO Doron Somech and Itay Damti, CEO of APAC for Leverate. In diminished roles are former co-CEOs Ran Strauss and Doron Cohen, who remains active with the firm as its chairman since leaving his co-CEO role in 2013, but who has been giving more attention to new ventures such as Covercy, where he is this payment startup’s CEO.

A result of the fracture of ownership is that it has split interests among shareholders about the future of Leverate, with some owners believed to be supporting an outright sale to exit their positions.

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They did in fact receive an outside offer

In this regard, Leverate has stated that as a private company “we do not divulge the inner workings of either the management or the board publicly.” However, Leverate representatives did reveal that they did in fact receive an outside offer but that it was rejected due to the fact “that the current investors do not wish to exit”.

In contrast to an exit, Leverate’s official position is that they have alternative plans for the company. According to the firm, current investor Simon Kukes has proposed to increase his stake in Leverate through what would be a dilutive investment to current shareholders. While Leverate didn’t comment on the consensus of current shareholders to a dilutive deal, they did state that following any investment from Kukes: “there is a strong will to keep the existing board and investors together.”

In a previous interview with Kukes, he explained to Finance Magnates that he saw himself adding value to the Leverate as well as the firm being poised for further growth in areas such as servicing governments.

Investing now will benefit everyone concerned

In a new statement about further investing in Leverate, Kukes commented: “Investing now will benefit everyone concerned. The capital injection will mean Leverate can accelerate the growth and development plans. This will also accelerate the expecting increases in revenue and return on investment for the investors. It makes perfect sense to want a larger stake in the returns as well. My history shows that I invest wisely and Leverate is certainly a wise investment for the future. It’s no wonder the company attracts potential buyers.”

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