WPP AUNZ says it has a received an unsolicited proposal from its majority shareholder WPP plc (“WPP plc”) to acquire all of the ordinary shares in WPP AUNZ that it does not already own at a price of A$0.55 per share in cash.
For its part, WPP plc has reserved the right to withdraw the proposal at any time prior to execution of an implementation agreement in relation to the proposal. WPP plc currently own 61.5 per cent of the issued capital in WPP AUNZ.
According to the document announcing the bid, the majority shareholder’s rationale for the deal is that as a 61.5 per cent and a partner in many of WPP AUNZ’s businesses “it’s ability to deploy resources and assist the business is limited by the current shareholding structure. We believe that we are best able to support WPP AUNZ in maximising its potential by moving to 100 per cent ownership”.
In its bid WPP plc notes, “WPP AUNZ has a portfolio of leading brands in the Australasian region but we remain cautious of the environment and agree with the sentiment of WPP AUNZ CEO Jens Monsees regarding the current level of economic uncertainty in the regions in which WPP AUNZ operates and we are mindful of the weak trading conditions currently impacting WPP AUNZ.”
In response, the Independent Directors of WPP AUNZ, along with its advisers, say they are considering the proposal and are currently advising shareholders to take no action in relation to the proposal until they receive the Independent Directors’ formal recommendation.
“WPP AUNZ will update shareholders, in accordance with the Company’s continuous disclosure obligations, in due course.”
WPP AUNZ has appointed UBS as its financial adviser and Herbert Smith Freehills as its legal adviser.