WPP is paying $230 million for full control of Australian operations

Chris Pash
By Chris Pash | 18 December 2020

WPP plc, the world's biggest advertising company, is paying $230 million to take full control of its Australian subsidiary, WPP AUNZ.

Independent directors at ASX-listed WPP AUNZ have backed a revised proposal at 70 cents a share from WPP to buy the 38.5% of the company the UK-based company doesn't own. 

WPP says the acquisition is in line with its global strategy of simplifying its structure and, if implemented, would move WPP to 100% ownership and control of Australian and New Zealand operations.

"The revised proposal of A$0.70 per share in cash has been accepted by WPP AUNZ who will seek to enter into a scheme implementation agreement," WPP told the London Stock Exchange.

"The revised proposal has been made concurrent with a trading update and outlook statement announced by WPP AUNZ separately today.

"The revised proposal remains subject to entering into binding documentation and implementation will be conditional on approval by WPP AUNZ shareholders and customary regulatory approvals.

"The total aggregate consideration payable by WPP for the remaining shares would be approximately $A230 million."

Jens Monsees, CEO of WPP AUNZ, told staff in an email: "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.

Monsees: "With good momentum in recent client engagements, as well as an improvement in the macro economic environment, we are confident about this outlook." 

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