Molopo fights off one takeover offer, only one more to go
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Molopo has managed to fend off a second takeover bid thanks to its contentious US acquisition.
WAM Capital has withdrawn a 13.5c off-market play for Molopo Energy.
They announced the bid in November when Molopo (ASX:MPO) was fighting off a rival bid from Aurora Funds, but never followed through with a bidder’s statement.
The offer matched Aurora’s hostile bid but contained fewer conditions. Aurora’s offer was subject to 19 conditions.
Aurora offered 18c in July but dropped its offer to 13.5c in September. At the time of the bid it controlled 20.52 per cent of the company with Keybridge Capital (ASX:KBC), neither of which liked Molopo’s $8.75 million acquisition of half of US company Orient FRC or the half year operating loss of $2.7 million.
WAM said the offer was conditional on ‘no material transactions’ or commitments to any capital expenditure or liability over $2 million.
But in December Molopo said its investment in Orient required an upfront payment of US$4.5 million and half of a US$20 million spend for drilling and completing three wells, general, administrative and project management costs.
“The announced additional expenditure commitments have triggered the ‘no material transactions’ condition,” WAM said.
“As a result, WAM Capital is withdrawing its proposed offer.”
Aurora too had been trying to prevent the payments by taking the energy company to the Takeovers Panels, claiming the payment “would constitute a frustrating action giving rise to unacceptable circumstances”.
The Takeovers Panel did not think this would be the case, and declined to make a declaration saying so.
Molopo has been fighting Aurora and Keybridge with words and in the courts for months.
Keybridge took Molopo to the Supreme Court for not opening its books over the Orient transaction – a case that was dismissed in December – and also tried to lead a shareholder revolt to remove the board.
Molopo shares haven’t traded since July last year.