Asia Pacific Village Group's takeover of New Zealand's second-largest retirement village owner and operator is suddenly back on in an unexpected move, with the price only lowered by $1 a share reducing it from a $1.49 billion deal to $1.27b.
Metlifecare made a surprise NZX announcement this morning about the deal being reignited.
Yesterday afternoon, it got a "non-binding indicative offer from Asia Pacific Village Group to acquire all Metlifecare shares for $6 per share".
The previous offer was $7/share for the business, trading on the NZX on Friday at $5.22.
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Metlifecare said today the board had committed to engaging with Asia Pacific to see if the offer could be converted into a binding scheme implementation agreement.
The sudden announcement follows a bitter dispute between the two parties, waged in public, about Asia Pacific dropping what was previously a $1.49 billion takeover when it offered $7/share.
Asia Pacific previously said it could not proceed with its takeover. Metlifecare's shares were trading around $7 before the pandemic but had sunk to $4.20 when Asia Pacific pulled out.
That's all changed today and Friday's shareholder meeting at Eden Park's South Stand is now cancelled.
That meeting was scheduled to get shareholder support to continue litigation over Asia Pacific ditching the takeover. Metlifecare was going to claim ditching the deal was invalid.
The NZ Super Fund supports the $6 offer.
"Metlifecare has been advised that the guardians of the New Zealand Superannuation Fund is broadly supportive of Metlifecare urgently progressing APVG's offer and deferring the special meeting of shareholders in order to do so," the company announcement said.
Kim Ellis, chairman, said: "We have always indicated that the board of Metlifecare is open to engaging on any reasonable alternative proposal. We welcome receipt of APVG's offer and intend to canvass shareholders on whether they prefer this alternative. While there remain a number of issues to resolve and there is no guarantee we will be able to reach agreement, we look forward to productive discussions with APVG."
Shareholders have been told they do not need to take any action now.
A further update will be provided when the Metlifecare board has further assessed the offer and canvassed the views of shareholders.
Metlifecare stressed the offer was non-binding. It is being advised by Jarden Partners, Simmons Corporate Finance and Chapman Tripp.
An institutional investor said the deal being reignited showed just how fast situations could change and the attractiveness of the company to the buyer.
Retirement village assets in the listed sector remained highly valuable, he said.