Shares in WPP AUNZ jumped by more than a third after UK-based WPP launched a proposal to buy out minority shareholders.
A short time ago, the shares were up 35% to $0.555, slightly ahead of WPP's offer price of $0.55. The shares closed Friday at $0.41.
WPP, the world's largest advertising group, controls ASX-listed WPP AUNZ with 61.5% of shares.
But now it wants the rest of the company it doesn't own. This would mean that the Australian business would become fully integrated into the global company.
WPP says its believes its proposal represents a "compelling proposition" with a fixed cash payment rather than remaining exposed to a fluctuating share price and uncertainty over future dividends in the current "challenging" operating environment.
Andrew Scott, COO of WPP, wrote to the WPP AUNZ board: "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 whichWPP AUNZ operates and we are mindful of the weak trading conditions currently impacting WPP AUNZ.
"As a 61.5% majority shareholder and a partner in many of WPP AUNZ's businesses, we remain committed to WPP AUNZ, however, our 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% ownership."
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