Fund manager Tony Pitt’s 360 Capital has won control, but not outright ownership, of its takeover target, the $225 million Asia Pacific Data Centres.
Acceptances of Mr Pitt’s takeover bid have risen close to 62 per cent, allowing 360 Capital to extend the offer for two more weeks.
One major obstacle remains: the near 30 per cent stake held by the data centre’s sole tenant NextDC, which is led by Craig Scroggie, who has previously said he will not buy into the $1.95-a-share takeover from 360 Capital.
The situation may play out in a number of ways if NextDC does not budge.
With a majority of the register, Mr Pitt can be expected to win effective control of the board through new director appointments. That could happen later this month at the APDC’s annual meeting.
If ownership of the property trust remains split between 360 Capital and NextDC with only a handful of other retail investors, it may be forced to delist under rules requiring a certain level of liquidity on the Australian Securities Exchange.
Mr Pitt’s offer has no minimum acceptance condition, meaning his platform can become a majority owner without a full takeover. The veteran fund manager has also previously said he would be “quite happy” to joint-venture the data centres trust.
On Tuesday, as his hold on the trust strengthened, Mr Pitt reiterated his commitment to building an exposure into the data centres sector, whatever the outcome at APDC.
“We will now do a strategic review and work out the best options for all Asia Pacific Data Centres security-holders,” he told The Australian Financial Review.
The potential to invest in the growing global data storage sector was underscored just last month by a $US350 million ($456 million) joint investment by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Keppel into a data centres fund, Mr Pitt noted.
“We really like the sector as we’ve been saying all the way along. There are opportunities out there to participate. It [the fund]) is not precluded from looking at non-NextDC opportunities.”
The battle for control of the data centres trust has taken several months to unfold.
The APDC board noted the 360 Capital offer was all cash and provided its investors with “certainty of value”.
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