City & Corporate: PBP advises pension fund on Goals deal

Pelham Bell Pottinger has been called in by one of Canada's biggest pension funds as it pursues an acquisition of UK leisure firm Goals Soccer Centres.

News broke over last weekend that the private equity arm of Canada's Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan wanted to buy the UK five-a-side soccer operator.

Pelham has been called in on a project brief to advise the group on the potential acquisition, led by MD James Henderson and director of support services Clinton Manning.

The brief marks the first time Pelham has worked with Ontario Teachers. The fund used Edelman to handle media comms around its £389m acquisition of UK National Lottery operator Camelot in 2010.

Goals' retained PR adviser College Hill is handling financial comms for the AIM-listed firm.

The UK's Takeover Panel has given the Canadian pension fund until the end of April to make a formal approach.

Ontario Teachers acknowledged it had held preliminary discussions with the board of Goals, although a company statement stressed that there was 'no certainty that any offer for Goals will be made'.

Goals is the largest five-a-side football operator in the UK and has a market capitalisation of about £60m, with £53m of net debts.

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