Billionaire investor critical of Aveo takeover

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Alex Waislitz (pictured), founder and executive director of Thorney Investment Group, has fired a broadside at retirement village operator Aveo’s independent directors saying he is “shocked” at their support of a “highly opportunistic” takeover by Canadian private equity giant Brookfield.

Thorney is an ASX-listed investment company with $163 million in net tangible assets and a stake in overseeing companies including a 25% stock in the Australian Community Media Group alongside former Domain boss, Anthony Catalano. Dr Gary Weiss, the Chairman of Estia Health, also sits on Thorney’s board.

Mr Waislitz, 61, said Brookfield’s bid was likely to “produce a highly unsatisfactory outcome for shareholders”.

Thorney holds a 0.5% stake in Aveo.

Aveo entered into a scheme of arrangement in August to sell to Brookfield at $2.15 per share ex-dividend – a 40% discount to net tangible assets.

Mr Waislitz said “Such a steep discount to NTA is almost unheard of in a takeover offer. I am quite shocked that Aveo’s independent directors and the company’s major shareholders are supporting the deal.”

He went on, “Do they not have confidence in their executive management team’s ability?”

He added the “opportunistic” bid was made at the bottom of a falling housing market and failed to account for the full potential of Aveo’s high quality land bank of development sites.

He said,“If the deal succeeds it will deprive minority shareholders of significant value to which they should be entitled” and felt that the existing management team was “more than capable” of overcoming the short-term problems the company faced to “deliver substantial future upside.”