Australian Unity has rejected NorthWest Healthcare’s $2.7 billion offer for its unlisted healthcare fund, setting the stage for a drawn-out “hearts and minds” battle ahead of a vote on the bid by the fund’s 10,000 investors next month.
The fierce battle continues for the 20-year-old Australian Unity Healthcare Property Trust (AUHPT), which has grown into one of Australia’s largest unlisted healthcare property funds, with assets worth $2.4 billion.
In the latest salvo between AUHPT and the bidder Toronto, Canada-based NorthWest Healthcare, Australian Unity Funds Management Limited (AUFM), as responsible entity of the AUHPT, announced that Australian Unity Strategic Holdings Pty Limited (AUSH, a wholly owned subsidiary of Australian Unity Limited) has increased its cash offer to existing AUHPT Unitholders, enabling unitholders seeking liquidity to seek to sell part or all of their investment in AUHPT at a Wholesale Unit price of $2.70, which matches NorthWest healthcare’s offer, made on 15 June.
With the 10,000 unitholders vote on the future ownership of AUHPT to be declared in Melbourne on 19 July, AUFM through AUSH is playing the loyalty card.
AUSH stated its offer “further demonstrate the Australian Unity Group’s commitment to AUHPT’s portfolio of unique healthcare and medical infrastructure assets that are necessary to support Australia’s future healthcare needs. Additionally, AUFM appreciates that the AUSH PCO may be appealing to some unitholders and AUFM wanted to support a pathway for unitholders who wish to exit their AUHPT investment in whole or part, but who do not want to be required to vote in a particular way on the NorthWest Proposal to do so.”