Spotless bows to $752M bid from PEP

Australian business services firm Spotless Group agreed to a A$720 million ($752 million) takeover offer from Pacific Equity Partners, with the board saying on Monday it had bowed to shareholder pressure to accept an offer lower than it had sought, Reuters reported. The Spotless board accepted the buyout firm’s offer of A$2.71 a share, including a dividend already paid, well below the A$2.80 minimum offer the company had wanted but 10 percent above the last trade in Spotless shares.

(Reuters) – Australian business services firm Spotless Group agreed to a A$720 million ($752 million) takeover offer from Pacific Equity Partners, with the board saying on Monday it had bowed to shareholder pressure to accept an offer lower than it had sought.

 

The Spotless board accepted the buyout firm’s offer of A$2.71 a share, including a dividend already paid, well below the A$2.80 minimum offer the company had wanted but 10 percent above the last trade in Spotless shares.

 

Pacific Equity Partners, Australia’s largest buyout firm, had previously offered A$711 million or A$2.68 a share for the cleaning and catering services group, whose contracts include selling meat pies at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

 

“The Scheme proposal provides the most certain near-term return for all Spotless shareholders,” the company said, adding that the business had suffered disruption and uncertainty over the five months since PEP presented its offer.

 

“Spotless and its advisers have received feedback from Spotless shareholders representing the majority of Spotless shares supporting a Scheme of Arrangement at or above $2.68 per share,” it said.

 

The company had tried to extract a better price by arguing its plans to transform the business would boost earnings sharply over the next few years, but near-term prospects have dimmed, especially in its Braiform clothing hangers business which supplies retailers.

 

PEP was the second buyout firm to approach Spotless. The Australian firm rejected a A$657 million bid from Blackstone Group about a year ago.