An ASX-listed property group has rejected last month’s takeover proposal – but has hinted it might change its mind if more money is put on the table.
Onthehouse Holdings announced late last week that an independent board committee has rejected the unsolicited, non-binding, conditional and indicative proposal received on 24 December.
The consortium of investors proposed to acquire the company for 75.5 cents per share. That marked a 26.9 per cent premium on the trading price before the announcement, which was 59.5 cents. However, the share price has since climbed, reaching 71 cents at the end of today’s trading.
Onthehouse said the consortium, which is controlled by Macquarie Group and supported by CoreLogic RP Data, has undervalued the company.
“The independent board committee of Onthehouse has undertaken a detailed evaluation of the indicative proposal. It has also engaged external legal and financial advisers to assist in this evaluation, and has spoken to a number of the company’s key shareholders,” Onthehouse said.
“Following detailed evaluation, the independent board committee has formed the opinion that the indicative proposal materially undervalues Onthehouse and is not in the best interest of the company’s shareholders.”
Onthehouse chairman Tony Scotton said the best way to maximise shareholder value is for the company to focus on its growth strategy, which involves a joint venture for one of its divisions and continued investment in its software and technology.
“Having evaluated the indicative proposal in light of the company’s current strategy, the independent board committee believes that the value of Onthehouse’s strategic initiatives is not reflected in the indicative proposal,” he said.
However, Mr Scotton said Onthehouse had not closed the door on the consortium.
“While the independent board committee has rejected the indicative proposal, the committee is focused on maximising value for Onthehouse shareholders, is continuing discussions with the consortium and remains open to any offer that would maximise shareholder value,” he said.
[Related: Bank tipped to acquire property website]