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Sigfox latest: nine bidders, no Semtech (but Actility), no consortia bids (but UnaBiz)

Note, this article was updated with additional information on March 2.

Nine companies have entered bids for ailing IoT firm Sigfox, as the deadline for its sale passed last Friday (February 25). Bidders include Singapore-based IoT house and early front-runner UnaBiz, which had confirmed its interest previously, as well as regional Sigfox operator groups Heliot Europe and iWire. Heliot Europe and iWire had also been widely tipped.

Semtech, owner of the rival LoRa technology, has not entered the running. However, French network vendor Actility, also from the opposite LoRa / LoRaWAN camp, is among the nine bidders. France-based IoT provider Groupe Zekat has entered a bid as well, as indicated previously. No joined-bids were received from consortium-like groups with Sigfox interests, such as Sigfox operators, as had been suggested.

The full list of bidders is as follows: Actility, Buffet Investment Services Consortium, Greybull Capital, Heliot Europe, iWire Innovation Management, OTEIS France, Sentiens, UnaBiz, Groupe Zekat. All of them except for Actility and the Buffet Consortium have entered bids for both the main Sigfox technology business (Sigfox SA) and the Sigfox network in France (Sigfox France SAS); these others have only entered bids for the technology business.

The Buffet Consortium is the investment vehicle belonging to property magnate Jonathan Beare, one of the largest private landowners in South Africa. Greybull Capital is a UK-based private investment company that specialises in medium- to long-term investments, with a reputation as a “rescuer of distressed firms” or as a “vulture fund” that picked up failing companies in the last financial crash, including British Steel.

Of other new names in the hat, Oteis France is billed as a multidisciplinary engineering company, engaged in the building, water, planning, and infrastructure markets, and Sentiens is described as a “French consulting company in IT systems and software”; Sentiens is based in Toulouse.

A statement said: “These offers provide evidence of the interest in Sigfox’s unique technological profile, its market potential, and the quality of its teams. From now on and over the next few weeks, the bodies involved in the procedure, and in particular the receivers who are working alongside the management and the employee representatives, will duly examine these offers and their implications.”

Sources have claimed as well that none of the bids received by CBF Associés, appointed to handle the administrative receivership process by the Toulouse Commercial Court at the end of January, have gone much higher, nominally, than €40 million, Enterprise IoT Insights understands. No figures have been shared. Since reporting, Sigfox has been in touch to confirm the company’s debts have been frozen as part of the receivership process.

It stated: “The opening of this procedure allows the freezing of the company’s previous debts. It means for the bidders they won’t have to cover this debt.”

The statement continued: “Sigfox’s management will discuss with the takeover candidates to improve the content as much as possible in the interest of the company, its employees, and its technology. The company’s management will promptly communicate on the next steps of the procedure, in compliance with its rules, and respecting the primacy of information due to the Court, to insolvency officers, and to the employee representatives.”

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