Baltimore Technologies PLC
Baltimore Technologies was a leading Irish internet security company, listed on the London Stock Exchange and NASDAQ, and briefly part of the FTSE 100 index. Buoyed by the appeal of its digital certificate business, which was seen as a vital tool to enable e-commerce, the company rocketed to a market value of US$13bn, before seeing its shares collapse alongside other tech stocks in the ‘dot com bubble’.
After three years of disposals, the board announced its intention to move into the clean energy business with a high-profile team of leading of Directors. The plan was abandoned in June 2004 when investor Acquisitor Holdings of Bermuda acquired sufficient shares to take control of the cash and invited David Buchler to step in as chairman to cystallise Baltimore’s remaining value: £24 million cash, its listed status and more than £1 billion in accumulated tax losses. On the minus side were several significant liabilities, including a 100,000 sq ft office property portfolio that was sublet at below-cost rents, and a potential £4.5 million lawsuit from a disgruntled former joint venture partner, Earthport.
David Buchler and his turnaround team quickly reviewed the need for a share listing as part of far-reaching measures to reduce costs. At the same time, terminating Baltimore’s American Depositary Receipt programme would remove the company’s need to file reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission and hire US counsel. Deals were negotiated on leases and with other creditors, while tax assets arising from losses were maximised. In February 2005 Baltimore was delisted from the London Stock Exchange.
Once the assets and liabilities of the company has been finalised, the board led by David Buchler relisted the restructured cash shell on AIM at 15p a share, announcing a strategy to becoming a specialist financial services business. Within six months the Company was acquired by Oryx International Growth Fund for 23p a share.
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