6 Jul 2020

Metlifecare considers fresh takeover offer

4:19 pm on 6 July 2020

The bidders for retirement operator Metlifecare look set to take over the company for $6 a share, a dollar less than the original agreement but in line with recent valuations.


The bidders for retirement operator Metlifecare are keen to avoid a court case, Metlifecare chair Kim Ellis says. Photo: 123RF

Swedish private equity firm EQT, backing the Asia Pacific Village Group (APVG), made another offer last night getting in front of court action being brought by Metlifecare.

The group tried to pull out of the first deal, claiming the Covid-19 pandemic had materially changed Metlifecare's value and outlook.

Metlifecare chair Kim Ellis said the new offer did not include the same material-change clause, but it did insist Metlifecare drop its legal action.

"I think EQT are keen not to face our litigation team in court so they've been pretty keen. They've had a lot of pressure on them from their owners back in Sweden to try and sort this thing out."

He said there was a high likelihood of the new offer succeeding.

"Importantly, they've reached an accommodation with NZ Super who are a major shareholder and that's a particularly important milestone from our point of view because they're the key to any deal."

A recent valuation put Metlifecare's shares in the range of $5.80 to $6.90.

Metlifecare would now consult its advisers on the deal and Ellis said the "devil would be in the detail". The company would not agree to drop its litigation "leverage" unless a rock solid agreement that shareholders were happy with was on the table.

According to Forsyth Barr, Metlifecare has only briefly traded above the revised offer price of $6 for the last five years.

A Metlifcare meeting of shareholders on Friday has been postponed.

The meeting was to determine if shareholders supported the board pursuing court action, in determining whether APVG's withdrawal in April from the deal, was legal.

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