Private equity firm makes fresh bid for NZ village operator Metlifecare – offering $1 less per share after cancelled takeover saw stocks slide

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As we reported here, Metlifecare had launched legal action against Asia Pacific Village Group (APVG), which is owned by Swedish fund manager EQT, in May after the firm withdrew its $1.5 billion takeover bid of the operator blaming COVID-19.

Now APVG has renewed its offer to buy the group for $6 a share, lower than its $7 a share bid – or $1.27 billion, a $230 million discount.

Metlifecare had taken APVG to court last month but was prevented by the High Court from holding a shareholder vote on continuing its case until the legality of the dispute had been resolved.

AVPG’s new offer is conditional on the legal case being dropped as well as Metlifecare dropping its requirement that the scheme consideration be within or above the independent adviser’s valuation range.

The majority of Metlifecare directors would also need to recommend the offer to shareholders.

“We have always indicated that the board of Metlifecare is open to engaging on any reasonable alternative proposal,” chairman Kim Ellis said.

Metlifecare’s shares closed 10% up at NZ$5.76 on the news.

The operator will now defer a Friday meeting of shareholders on continuing the legal action against AVPG and EQT to weigh up the new deal.

Metlifecare has 25 villages across New Zealand with more than 5,600 residents and a $940 million development pipeline.