Corporate: Walnut farmer Webster Ltd agrees to $854m takeover offer — shares fly
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Agribusiness Webster (ASX:WBA) has received a takeover offer from Canadian pension fund PSP Investments which values the company at $834m.
The deal was priced at $2 per share — a 57.5 per cent premium to Webster’s last closing price.
Shares in the company shot higher as a result, and the stock now leads the market in morning trade.
One of Australia’s largest walnut producers, Webster made a number of strategic acquisitions in recent years to incorporate cotton and water irrigation into its operations.
As part of the deal, PSP — which already holds 19.1 per cent stake in Webster — will purchase all of the ordinary and preference shares in Webster it doesn’t already own, via two subsidiaries.
In a somewhat intricate deal structure, Webster will then transfer some if its assets to a separate PSP entity which will be called KoobaCo.
Two existing Webster shareholders — Belfort Investment Advisors and Verolot — will then be given the option to purchase 50.1 per cent of the shares in the new entity.
Two independent directors of the Webster board, David Cushing and Maurice Felizzi — who don’t hold an interest in any of the entities — were asked to review the deal.
The company advised this morning that both directors will advise shareholders to vote in favour of the PSP offer, in the absence of a superior proposal.
Webster has entered into a binding Scheme Implementation Agreement with PSP, with the scheme expected to be finalised by early next year, pending shareholder approval.
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