Uniti stops Connect Consortium talks over Vocus link

Uniti stops Connect Consortium talks over Vocus link

The competing consortium holds concerns commercially sensitive information may be shared during the due diligence process.

Uniti Group managing director and CEO Michael Simmons

Uniti Group managing director and CEO Michael Simmons

Credit: Uniti Group

Uniti Group has turned away from an acquisition offer from the Connect Consortium over the fact that one of its members, Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA) Holdings, holds a 50 per cent cent ownership interest in competitor Vocus.

Earlier this month, Uniti Group entered discussions for a potential acquisition by investment asset manager Morrison & Co, which was shortly joined by Brookfield Infrastructure Group, to result in an offer of $4.50 per share.

More than a week later, Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA) Holdings and Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP Investments), under the umbrella named the Connect Consortium, made an offer to acquire Uniti for $5 per share, upping the valuation to roughly $3.4 billion.

Now, the Morrison/Brookfield Consortium has matched the Connect Consortium’s price, with similar conditions between the two offers, according to a statement by Uniti published on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).

However, either offer will require Uniti to provide competitively sensitive information, which has the Morrison/Brookfield Consortium concerned as MIRA entered into a separate consortium in March 2021 to acquire Vocus for $3.5 billion.

Additionally, both offers include conditions for Uniti not to engage with either consortium while entering into agreement proposals, as well as the Connect Consortium offer requiring Uniti to provide it with the same due diligence documents it presents to any other interested party.

As a result, the telecommunications services provider said “it is not able to engage with the Connect Consortium on the Connect Consortium Indicative Proposal at this time.”

“After careful consideration of both proposals, the Board has determined it is in the best interests of Uniti shareholders to engage with the Morrison/Brookfield Consortium on their Revised Morrison/Brookfield Consortium Indicative Proposal,” the telco services provider said in its statement.

Uniti added however that there still is currently “no certainty” that either proposal will lead to an offer being made to its shareholders.

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Tags VocusUnitiMacquarie Infrastructure and Real AssetsMIRAMorrison & Co

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