WPP AUNZ minority shareholders to vote on takeover

Chris Pash
By Chris Pash | 29 December 2020

Minority shareholders of ASX-listed WPP AUNZ will vote in April on the takeover offer from UK-based WPP plc in April.

WPP, the world’s largest advertising group, is paying $230 million to take full control of its Australian subsidiary, soaking up the 38.5% it doesn't own.

In an update lodged with the ASX today, WPP AUNZ says minority shareholders will be asked to consider the proposal at a meeting in late April.

Independent directors of WPP AUNZ, pending an assesment of the deal by PwC, recommend that minority shareholders vote in favour of the $0.70 a share offer. Before the offer, WPP AUNZ shares were trading at $0.41.

The price gives the Australian company an implied enterprise value of $717 million.

The takeover is expected to complete in the first six months of 2021.

WPP says the acquisition is in line with its global strategy of simplifying its structure.

Jens Monsees, CEO of WPP AUNZ, told staff in an email earlier this month: "If the transaction completes, WPP AUNZ will become a wholly owned subsidiary of WPP plc.

"Timing is subject to a number of factors, but under the current schedule the transaction could complete in the first half of 2021."

The Australian company also released a trading update showing an improved earnings outlook for 2021.

WPP AUNZ has appointed investment bank UBS and law firm Herbert Smith Freehills to advise on the takeover offer.

PwC has been appointed independent expert to evaluate whether the offer is in the best interests of WPP AUNZ minority shareholders.

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