EQT Infrastructure makes $2.3b bid for Australia’s Vocus

Photo: Vocus

Australian telco Vocus Group Ltd said on Monday it has received a A$3.27 billion ($2.27 billion) takeover offer from private equity firm EQT Infrastructure, nearly two years after two suitors walked away from the company.

The bid offered A$5.25 in cash for each Vocus share, the company said in a statement, a 35% premium toVocus‘ last close of A$3.89 on Friday.

The offer comes as Vocus undertakes a turnaround plan aimed at cutting its debt load by selling assets, although it was recently forced to retain its New Zealand business after talks for a sale fell through.

Vocus said it would grant non-exclusive due diligence access to EQT to allow the company to potentially put forward a formal binding proposal.

In 2017, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co and Affinity Equity Partners pulled bids for Vocus, at a time when the sector faced headwinds from the rollout of the government-owned National Broadband Network (NBN).

Vocus is currently being sued by shareholders who allege that company engaged in deceptive conduct and breached stock market disclosure obligations regarding earnings guidance in 2017. Vocus intends to defend itself, the telco said in April.