VOC 0.67% $2.98 vocus group limited

Vocus Group receives takeover approach: sources

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    Vocus Group receives takeover approach: sources

    May 26, 2019 — 2.16pm

    Telecommunications company Vocus Group has received a takeover approach, sources told Street Talk on Sunday.

    Investment bank UBS is understood to be on defence. A spokeswoman declined to comment when contacted by this column.

    This is not the first time Vocus has been approached by private equity since the 2016 merger with M2. In 2017 Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Affinity Equity Partners made offers to buy the firm, which they eventually withdrew.

    The latest offer comes three years after the $3.8 billion merger between then-fibre specialist Vocus and telecommunications retailer M2, a deal that led to months of discord as each company struggled to adapt to the other's culture.

    In May 2017 Vocus issued a massive profit downgrade which saw its share price fall from a pre-merger high of $9 to as low as $2.20. It was trading at $3.89 when markets closed on Friday.

    The following October, two senior board members, James Spenceley and Tony Grist, resigned following what the company called a "a difference of opinion" about the "future leadership of the company".

    Last month shareholders launched a class action against the company, alleging the Vocus board breached continuous disclosure obligations by knowingly withholding information from the market that eventually led to the 25 per cent downgrade.

    At its half year results in February Vocus reported revenue increased 1 per cent for the six months to December to $974.2 million, while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation fell 7 per cent to $176.4 million. Underlying net profit after tax fell 29 per cent to $48.8 million.

    Vocus CEO Kevin Russell. AFR

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