WPP AUNZ announced this morning that it received an unsolicited proposal from majority shareholder WPP plc to acquire all of the ordinary shares in WPP AUNZ that it does not already own at A$0.55 per share in cash.
WPP currently owns 61.5% of WPP AUNZ shares.
WPP plc said it seeks to enter into a binding implementation agreement prior to December 31 and expects to complete the acquisition and payment by March 2021. WPP plc reserves the right to withdraw the proposal, and a statement from WPP AUNZ said its independent directors, along with its advisers, are considering the proposal. The directors advised shareholders to take no action until they receive the independent directors' formal recommendation.
A letter from WPP plc to WPP AUNZ stated the following regarding the rationale behind the move:
WPP AUNZ has a portfolio of leading brands in the Australasian region but we remain cautious of the environment and agree with the sentiment of WPP AUNZ CEO Jens Monsees regarding the current level of economic uncertainty in the regions in which WPP AUNZ operates and we are mindful of the weak trading conditions currently impacting WPP AUNZ.
As a 61.5% majority shareholder and a partner in many of WPP AUNZ's businesses, we remain committed to WPP AUNZ, however, our ability to deploy resources and assist the business is limited by the current shareholding structure. We believe that we are best able to support WPP AUNZ in maximising its potential by moving to 100% ownership.