RWS shares drop 19% after BPEA abstains from takeover

RWS shares declined sharply this morning as Baring Private Equity Asia Fund VIII (BPEA) announced that it would not be making an offer for the language services provider (LSP).

A little under a month ago, the Hong Kong-based private equity firm confirmed that it was in the early stages of considering a takeover of RWS. In response, RWS shares climbed from 351.80 GBX up to a peak of 445.00 GBX on April 22. After BPEA’s announcement early on May 16, RWS shares dropped by about 19%, to around the same level as before April 21.

BPEA stated that its decision not to make an offer on RWS was “not a reflection of its views on the RWS business.” In response to BPEA’s decision and the sudden decline in shares, RWS leadership released a statement noting that BPEA’s interest in the company was unsolicited. The company’s statement also emphasized confidence in its future growth, even in spite of the recent setback.

“The Board of RWS believes the company has a strong future based on its clearly defined strategy as outlined at its Capital Markets Event on March 23, 2022, which includes accelerating organic growth, capitalizing on a simplified technology portfolio, driving operational leverage and enhancing growth and returns,” RWS said in a statement.

“The company is focused on the actions and investments which support this strategy and its five year accelerated growth plan,” the company’s statement continues.

The UK-based LSP was founded in 1982 and has since grown into one of the largest companies in the language industry. After the company’s acquisition of SDL for $1.066 billion, RWS shot up to second place on the most recent iteration of the Nimdzi 100, a ranking of the largest companies in the language industry. Even after shares declined on May 16, RWS maintains its status as the largest publicly traded LSP — TransPerfect, the company in the top slot on the 2022 Nimdzi 100 is privately owned.

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Andrew Warner
Andrew Warner is a writer from Sacramento. He received his B.A. in linguistics and English from UCLA and is currently working toward an M.A. in applied linguistics at Columbia University. His writing has been published in Language Magazine, Sactown Magazine, and The Takeout.

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