NZX-listed property specialist Augusta Capital has announced a $180 million takeover of its business by ASX listed Centuria Capital Group is now off after the Australians cancelled.
Augusta chairman Paul Duffy and managing director Mark Francis issued a brief joint statement to the NZX, giving no reasons for the deal being scrapped but saying the Australians had made that call.
"Augusta Capital advises that it has been notified by Centuria Capital that it is terminating the bid implementation agreement announced on January 29 and will not be proceeding with the takeover bid at this time. Augusta has no further information regarding the termination at this time but will update shareholders," the brief statement said.
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Francis told the Herald today he might be able to say more about the termination in about an hour.
Francis and fellow Augusta executive director Bryce Barnett together own 23.3 per cent of shares in Augusta.
They had previously made an undertaking to accept the deal when it was on the table, being issued with Centuria shares and striking a three-year employment agreement with Augusta.
Before the pandemic and global financial problems, Augusta valued the properties it managed at $2b while Centuria has A$7.3b of assets under management.
Augusta Capital had entered into an agreement whereby Centuria, subject to obtaining certain regulatory approvals, would make a takeover offer for 100 per cent of Augusta shares.
Augusta share price has halved in the past month, from trading at $2.13 on February 26 on the NZX to $1.20 now. Centuria's share price has also plummeted from A$2.76 on February 19 to A$1.54 today.
Under the deal as it had been structured, Augusta shareholders had the option to take cash or Centuria shares.
Augusta manages office, retail and industrial properties throughout New Zealand and was founded by Francis in 2001.
It has evolved from being a single asset property syndicator to being one of New Zealand's largest property funds management specialists and it no longer just buys assets but helps fund them as well.
Its associate is fellow listed Asset Plus which owns 35 Graham St in Auckland's CBD, retail assets and has struck a deal with Auckland Council to build its new northern centre behind the MEGA Mitre 10 at Albany.