30/10/2015 - 13:56

Aspen sweetens offer for parks fund

30/10/2015 - 13:56

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Aspen sweetens offer for parks fund
The APPF-owned holiday park at Woodman Point.

Aspen Group has moved to fend off Discovery Holiday Parks’ attempt to acquire its unlisted holiday and accommodation parks investment fund, and has also rejected a $62 million offer from the would-be suitor to acquire the accommodation assets it owns outside of the fund.

Earlier this week, Discovery Holiday Parks bid around $135 million to acquire the Aspen Parks Property Fund, which owns 21 accommodation parks across Australia with an estimated value of $200 million.

That followed last month’s announcement from Aspen that it intended to merge with the fund, a proposal which would have made it one of Australia’s largest holiday park owners with a portfolio valued around $241 million.

Its original merger offer was for 0.386 shares for every share owned, an implied value of 50 cents for each APPF share.

But Aspen Group, which already owns 97.6 million shares in APPF, or 42 per cent of its securities, today announced it had increased the value of its proposal, trumping Discovery Holiday Parks by about $4 million.

Discovery Holiday Parks’ bid, announced earlier this week was a cash offer, priced at 58 cents per APPF share, including those owned by Aspen Group, with that bid totalling $135 million.

The new offer from Aspen Group, of 0.42857 shares in the merged company for every security owned in the fund, represents a value of 60 cents per share.

Aspen Group has also given the shareholders the option to cash out, also at 60 cents per share, subject to an overall cap of $41 million.

At 60 cents per share, the total value of APPF securities, including the stake owned by Aspen Group, would be $139 million.

Aspen Group chief executive Clem Salwin said the revised proposal maximised value for all investors, while the APPF board committee has recommended shareholders accept the increased bid.

Also today, Discovery Holiday Parks offered to buy five accommodation and holiday parks from Aspen Group, for a total of $62 million.

That portfolio comprises the Aspen Karratha Village, Mandurah Gardens Estate, Four Lanterns Estate and Tomago Van Village, which are both in NSW, and Adelaide Caravan Park.

Aspen Group rejected the proposal on the basis that it did not represent an appropriate sale price. 

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