Southern Cross Bid Falling Short

Southern Cross Broadcasting’s $98m takeover offer for Southern Star Group is going down to the wire, with only two days left until it expires, according to The Australian Financial Review.

Southern Cross says it won’t extend its offer beyond the 15 April deadline, and has locked in the condition that it receive acceptances, taking its stake to 90%, so it can go ahead with compulsory acquisition.

This puts the deal at risk, as key institutional shareholders, controlling more than 10% of Southern Cross, have so far resisted the bid.

Southern Star Chairman and founder, Neil Balnaves, says: “it’s probably better that we have a conclusion, rather than let it go on and on.”

Southern Cross has struggled to push beyond the 67.9% stake it most recently reported because institutional shareholders, Acorn Capital and AMP Value, control 15.7% of the stock and are unhappy with aspects of the offer.

The takeover offer is one Southern Cross convertible preference share, with a face value of $12.50, for every 16 Southern Star shares, plus a special dividend of 8.7c a share.

It values Southern Star’s equity at 86.8c a share. They last closed at 83c.

Some investors believe Southern Star is worth more than the bid.

The other concern is that shareholders like AMP Value would prefer not to be paid in the form of a hybrid security, which would be even less liquid than Southern Star’s thinly traded ordinary shares.