Nedlands drug discovery and manufacturing group PharmAust Ltd has made a surprise $2.3 million merger proposal to Advance Healthcare Group Ltd.The move is the latest twist in a series of dramatic events surrounding the two companies and a third player, Hawkesbridge Private Equity which already has sought to take control of AHG.Prominent WA investor Michael Boyd has also become involved in the legal manoeuvring around AHG, which owns pharmaceutical wholesaler Cottman and a corporate pharmacy licence.PharmAust said its offer was 50 per cent above Hawkesbridge's recapitalisation offer, which was accepted by AHG shareholders in August in a contentious vote being disputed by PharmAust.PharmAust has been engaged in legal action against AHG over the validity of share transactions that took place before the vital meeting to vote on the Hawkesbridge offer which involved a debt for equity swap.The complex Hawkesbridge proposal would have resulted in up to 80 per cent of AHG being controlled by the Sydney investment fund.However, Hawkesbridge sold an 11 per cent shareholding on the eve of the meeting to newly appointed Advance Healthcare chief executive Ken Atkinson.Since then, Hawkesbridge has sold most of interest in AHG to Subiaco-based Covenant Nominees Pty Ltd, an entity associated with former WA businessman Michael Boyd.PharmAust said the 1.5-cents-per-share offer was a 50 per cent premium to the offer from Hawkesbridge and would be of greater benefit to all shareholders.PharmAust managing director Paul D'Sylva said his company had been highly critical of the dilutionary effect of the Hawkesbridge move."The challenge for us is to put up or shut up," he said."We believe this represents better value for all shareholders including ourselves."
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