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GPG gives nod to sweeter ClearView bid

GPG gives nod to sweeter ClearView bid

By Paul McBeth

Aug. 29 (BusinessDesk) - Corporate raider Guinness Peat Group has given the nod to a better offer for ASX-listed financial services firm ClearView Wealth after turning its nose up at the original bid of A$220 million.

Buyout firm Crescent Capital Partners, via holding vehicle CCP BidCo Pty, has raised its offer by 18 percent to 59 Australian cents per share for the wealth manager, made up of a 55 cents cash offer, a special 2.2 cent unfranked dividend and letting ClearView pay its 2012 final dividend of 1.8 cents. That values the company at A$262.8 million, but is still south of the 68 Australian cents to 74 cents value range in independent expert KPMG's assessment.

GPG, which owns about 48 percent of ClearView, has indicated it will accept the offer, and stands to reap A$125.6 million from the sale at the improved price. The deal will also see GPG's former executive director Gary Weiss installed as ClearView's chair.

"Under the negotiated arrangements, GPG is able to fulfill its objective, ClearView shareholders receive a substantially increased payment opportunity, and the company gains a majority shareholder with the capital and experience to add value so that ClearView may continue the execution of its profitable growth objectives," current ClearView chairman Ray Kellerman said in a statement.

With GPG's acceptance, Crescent will pass its 50 percent target, having built up a 12 percent stake through various put and call options with existing shareholders including Ariadne Australia, which counts Weiss as an executive director.

ClearView is GPG's third-biggest asset behind British threadmaker Coats and NZX-listed insurer Tower, with the investment valued at 81 million pounds as at June 30.

The offer closes on Sept. 14.

ClearView's shares were halted at 58 Australian cents today.

(BusinessDesk)

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