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EQT walks away from Vocus proposal

Due diligence fails to result in an offer for Australian telco.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

EQT Infrastructure has walked away from its AU$5.25 a share in cash proposal for Vocus that was disclosed last month.

Vocus informed the ASX on Tuesday evening that after conducting due diligence, EQT decided not to proceed to a formal offer.

"As we said in our Interim Results on 27 February, we are in the early stages of a business turnaround. We have great confidence that our strategy will deliver significant value to our shareholders in the medium to long term," Vocus managing director and CEO Kevin Russell said in a statement.

"There is growing demand for our strategically valuable network assets and we have a substantial opportunity to gain market share in Vocus Networks, which is the core of our business."

In its half-year results announced in February, Vocus reported revenue as being up 1% to AU$974 million, while underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) was down 10% to AU$171 million, and statutory earnings before interest and tax was down a third to AU$50 million.

The worst performing group was its business division, which saw revenue drop 27% and EBITDA fall 30%, followed by its consumer division which experienced a 12% revenue drop and a 5% EBITDA fall. Headed in the other direction were its network and services and New Zealand groups, which reported a 27% jump in revenue and 5% revenue boost, respectively, as well as increases in EBITDA of 3% and 11%.

Two years ago, Vocus was engaged with takeover proposals from Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co (KKR) and Affinity Equity Partners that resulted in nothing.

Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull joined KKR last week.

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