Mexico's Finaccess Capital has received Overseas Investment Office (OIO) approval for its 75 per cent takeover bid for Restaurant Brands, removing a key obstacle ahead of the offer closing on March 9.
The $881.5 million offer at $9.45 per share came in well above the independent advisor's range and was backed by the company's board and 8.55 per cent shareholder Stephen Copulos.
Finaccess' investment vehicle Global Valar has since received acceptances for 37.85m Restaurant Brands' shares, making up approximately 30.34 per cent of company.
José Parés Gutiérrez, chief executive of Finaccess Capital, said he found the New Zealand OIO process as good or better than anywhere else in the world, and that included the US, Eastern Europe and Russia.
"The level of response from the OIO has been very professional and the experience so far has been very good," he said.
"In other countries, it's more like going into a black box in which you drop your application and you don't get any feedback. Here they have been very Courteous and keep you in the loop. So my opinion is very positive about the job they are doing."
His comments suggest the government's tougher line on foreign investment and the introduction of the Overseas Investment Amendment Act 2018 may not have much effect on foreign takeovers of NZX firms.
Certainly, market participants are seeing continued interest from overseas corporates and private equity funds – particularly from Australia, UK and the US.
Finaccess has said it likes its long-term investments to remain listed and hence its decision to bid for three-quarters of the company.
Finaccess also owns a 56 per cent stake in European fast-food and casual dining restaurant operator AmRest, having initially taken 31 per cent ownership.
"We believe the 75 per cent allows us to get control of the company, we are not shy about that, but it also allows the existing shareholders to continue to be part of the growth story," he said, adding that keeping minority shareholders meant the business would continue to have market discipline," Parés told the Herald in a recent interview.
Finaccess has told Restaurant Brands that it doesn't envisage raising new equity in the near to medium term, although that could change if there was a large acquisition than couldn't be funded from existing cashflow.
There was no intention of going to 100 per cent ownership in the near future, Parés said.