Australia’s Vocus gets $2.6 billion bid from Macquarie Infrastructure, shares rise

(Reuters) – Vocus Group on Monday said it received a non-binding indicative takeover offer from Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets Holdings to acquire the fibre network owner for A$3.42 billion ($2.62 billion), sending its shares up as much as 19.2%.

Vocus’ shares rose to their highest since November 2016, but hovered below Macquarie Infrastructure’s (MIRA) offer of A$5.50 per Vocus share, which represents a 25.6% premium to its last close.

MIRA, part of Macquarie Group’s asset management arm, already holds interests in the telecom sector with a stake in mobile tower owner Axicom, formerly Crown Castle Australia.

The offer comes more than a year and half after power supplier AGL Energy and Swedish private equity firm EQT Infrastructure dropped similar proposals to take over the entire company.

In response, Vocus split its operations into three independent units in a bid to attract more likely suitors.

The Sydney-based firm said it would open its books to Macquarie Infrastructure for due diligence and pave the way for a binding proposal.