EQT backs away from Vocus acquisition

Latest proposal for a Vocus buyout falls through

Vocus says that private equity firm EQT Infrastructure doesn't intend to proceed with a proposed $3.3 billion acquisition of the ASX-listed telco group, whose brands include Dodo, iPrimus and Commander.

Vocus late last month said it had granted non-exclusive due diligence to EQT after it made an indicative, non-binding offer of $5.25 per share.

“Following an accelerated period of due diligence, EQT has decided not to proceed with the transaction outlined in the Indicative Proposal,” a statement released by Vocus said. “Accordingly, discussions with EQT in relation to the Indicative Proposal have now ceased.”

“As we said in our Interim Results on 27 February, we are in the early stages of a business turnaround,” Vocus CEO Kevin Russell said.

“We have great confidence that our strategy will deliver significant value to our shareholders in the medium to long term. There is growing demand for our strategically valuable network assets and we have a substantial opportunity to gain market share in Vocus Networks, which is the core of our business.”

Russell joined Vocus as chief executive and MD in May last year, charged with turning around the company’s performance after a series of poor results.

The telco’s half-year results, released in February, revealed a drop in consumer and SMB revenue. However, Vocus Networks enjoyed a 27 per cent growth in revenue.

EQT was the latest in a string of suitors that have showed interest in buying the telco that have either ditched their plan or been unable to come up with an offer Vocus’ board considered acceptable.

Energy company AGL considered purchasing the company, but revealed in May that it had been unable to agree to due diligence terms with Vocus.

In 2017, private equity firms KKR and Affinity contemplated snapping up the telco but both were unable to come up with a deal that had the blessing Vocus’ board.

Vocus has reaffirmed its FY19 guidance of underlying EBITDA of $350-370 million. 

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Tags TelecommunicationsVocusVocus CommunicationsVocus GroupEQT

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