Competition for Singapore Press Holdings heats up
09:38, 16 November 2021
Competition for non-media assets of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) heats up, with Cuscaden Peak raising its bid just a week after a sweetened offer was announced by Keppel Corp.
Keppel, in August, originally offered SGD2.099 of cash and stock for every SPH shares, equivalent to SGD2.2bn ($1.6bn). In late October, however, Cuscaden made a counter bid of SGD2.1 apiece – 0.1 Singapore cent higher than Keppel’s offer.
Not wanting to be outbid, Keppel on 9 November raised its offer to SGD2.351 – 12% above its original bid as well as that of Cuscaden. On Monday, the latter upped its game, offering SGD2.4 apiece.
SPH board in favour of Cuscaden
“SPH acknowledges that the Cuscaden scheme is superior to the Keppel scheme…and in the absence of a superior competing offer, the preliminary recommendation of the Independent Directors of SPH is that shareholders vote AGAINST the Keppel Scheme and vote IN FAVOUR OF the Cuscaden Scheme,” SPH said in a joint statement with Cuscaden.
“SPH shareholders who wish to benefit from the Cuscaden Scheme should attend (in person or in proxy) the Keppel Scheme Meeting to vote against the Keppel Scheme. This is because the voting results of the present and voting shareholders at the Keppel Scheme meeting will bind all SPH shareholders (including those who do not submit a vote).
“Under the Keppel scheme, SPH shareholders have only one option and will receive Keppel REIT [real estate investment trusts] and SPH REIT units regardless of their preference. SPH shareholders monetising a large volume of REIT units within a short period of time could create downward pressure on the traded prices, reducing the ultimate value that could be realised by SPH shareholders from the Keppel scheme consideration,” the statement reads.
Keppel will not raise offer
On Tuesday, Keppel said it will not further hike its offer. “We believe that Keppel’s final offer is a compelling one and a win-win proposition which would be put to both Keppel Corporation’s and SPH’s shareholders for their respective decisions.”
The final offer made on 9 November “represents a compelling 57% premium to SPH’s undisturbed trading price on 30 March 2021,” Keppel said, stressing that its offer can close in mid-January 2022. Cuscaden, meanwhile, expects the deal to conclude in February 2022.
SPH shareholders will vote on the offers on 8 December, a week after SPH's media assets are scheduled to be carved out.
SPH stocks ended 1.7% higher at SGD2.37 apiece on Tuesday. Over the past month, it had surged 19.1%.