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Vocus accepts A$3.5B offer from MIRA-Aware consortium

Vocus accepts A$3.5B offer from MIRA-Aware consortium

Offers scheme implementation deed valued at $5.50 per share in cash.

Kevin Russell (Vocus Group CEO and managing director)

Kevin Russell (Vocus Group CEO and managing director)

Credit: Vocus Group

Vocus Group has agreed to a A$3.5 billion offer from Macquarie Infrastructure and Assets Holdings (MIRA) and Aware Super to fully acquire all its shares.

Australia's fourth biggest telecommunications player has entered a scheme implementation deed worth A$5.50 per share with the consortium giant, which the board has unanimously recommended shareholders accept. 

Vocus originally received a non-binding indicative takeover offer from MIRA on 8 February with Aware Super joining the consortium on 21 February. 

The offer follows the publicly listed company's recent half year profit turnaround after several consecutive financial years ending in losses.  

“In recent weeks, we have been able to confidently declare that Vocus’ three-year turnaround is complete and that we are moving into a new phase of investment," company CEO and managing director Kevin Russell said. 

"This transaction clearly validates the company’s strong operational and financial performance and recognises that we are executing the strategy that we set out in 2018." 

Russell cited the division of Vocus into distinct business units – Vocus Network Services, Vocus New Zealand and Retail – as a key factor in this turnaround. 

According to Russell, Vocus Network Services is winning market share while New Zealand is "well positioned for market consolidation opportunities". 

The remark on consolidation indicates an uncertain future relating to Vocus NZ's planned initial public offering (IPO).

In its most recent half year report, the telco claimed: “Preparations for an IPO of the New Zealand business are progressing well and the proceeds will enable us to make strategic investments in our network and capability.”

However, the latest acquisition announcement noted that although Vocus "had received strong interest from investors around the potential for an initial public offering of Vocus New Zealand, consistent with its obligations under the SID [scheme implementation deed], Vocus no longer intends to pursue the IPO of Vocus New Zealand for so long as the SID is in effect".

Meanwhile, the CEO also claimed the Retail division is "returning to growth in its Consumer business". 

"Fibre is the critical infrastructure of the modern economy, and this arrangement endorses our view that Vocus’ secure, Australian-operated fibre network is key to our momentum in the market," he added. 

"As we enter this new stage of investment and growth, support from MIRA and Aware Super will provide the strongest possible foundation for the business and the capacity to invest in our key assets and provide exceptional service to our customers.” 

Shareholders will likely vote on the Scheme at a meeting held in June. If successful, implementation will take place in July 2021.

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