An objector wants to block Swedish giant EQT's $1.27 billion takeover of duel-listed Metlifecare after a majority of shareholders voted in favour of the deal on Friday.
The retirement village company today issued a statement explaining how an investor wanted to block the controversial deal, which had been opposed by the NZ Shareholders' Association, chairman Kim Ellis and at least two institutional fund managers including Mint and Salt.
"Metlifecare confirms that a shareholder has lodged a notice of opposition to the High Court application for the scheme of arrangement (Scheme) with Asia Pacific Village Group," said the company, listed on the ASX and NZX.
Asia Pacific Village Group, owned by EQT, got a mandate to buy all Metlifecare's shares for $6 at a fiery shareholder meeting on Friday where Ellis said he was satisfied with the way he had acted, even though he did not back the takeover.
"Following shareholder approval for the Scheme on Friday, 2 October, Metlifecare is continuing to prepare for the High Court hearing scheduled for Thursday, 15 October, at which final orders for the scheme will be sought," the company said this morning.
"Metlifecare is considering the notice of opposition and will provide further market updates on the scheme process as are appropriate. Shareholders do not need to take any further action at this stage," it said.
Mark Binns, a Metlifecare director, said this morning: "This is a very, very small objector. Don't really understand why they are doing it. I am not the expert but the argument looks weak to me."
An EQT spokesman said today they agree with the views expressed by Metlifecare's director Mark Binns.
The scheme is subject to receipt of a 'no objection statement' from the Takeovers Panel and final orders of the High Court, with these conditions expected to be satisfied by mid-October and satisfaction of other customary completion conditions," the company said.
"It is anticipated that the scheme will be implemented and shareholders will be paid $6 per share on or around October 29," the company said last week.
The Super Fund, which held a cornerstone 19.9 per cent stake, expressed satisfaction with outcome following the vote on Friday.
The Shareholders' Association criticised parties backing the deal, asking why most directors and the NZ Super Fund supported it instead of holding out for a higher price and fostering a home-grown company.
"Why would directors recommend this offer for a profitable company which, despite having been the retirement sector laggard, has now outperformed its own expectations? Many investors will have bought into Metlifecare because they saw it as better value than its listed comparators. If the company is sold, current investors will lose the opportunity to see this value gap close," the association said.
"Has the board performed to the standard shareholders' [expectations]? Independent directors in other companies such as Tilt have shown that they can act robustly to secure better outcomes for shareholders by striving to resist takeover offers. Or is the problem simply that the actions of NZ Super Fund and the short-term players compromised the ability of the board to negotiate a better price?" the association asked.