Vocus buyout binned

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Vocus buyout binned

Investment firm EQT Infrastructure has walked away from discussions about acquiring Vocus.

The telco told shareholders through an ASX announcement that EQT has decided not to proceed with the deal after an “accelerated” period of due diligence.

Vocus last week revealed that it received an offer from EQT to buy all of its shares for $5.25 each in cash, or $3.26 billion. The telco also said energy provider AGL also made an offer before pulling out to give way to EQT.

“There is growing demand for our strategically valuable network assets and we have a substantial opportunity to gain market share in Vocus Networks, which is the core of our business,” Vocus chief executive Kevin Russell said.

“We thank EQT for their interest in Vocus and the Board and management team will now be able to focus all of their attention on realising the opportunity that we have ahead of us.”

Russell added that the telco is in the early stages of a business turnaround and that he is confident that Vocus’ strategy will deliver “significant value” to its shareholders in the medium to long term.

Vocus in 2017 also entertained acquisition offers from two private equity firms, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Affinity Equity Partners. Both eventually failed to reach "acceptable terms" for a buyout when Vocus turned down the $2.2 billion offer. Vocus said it forecast a financial turnaround and expected to return to sustainable organic growth the following year.

Vocus did manage to turn around its financial prospects somewhat, reporting steady revenue of $1.9 billion in FY18 and statutory EBITDA of $360.4 million.

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