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Opticomm shareholders approve acquisition by Uniti

Votes overwhelmingly in favour of purchase that ends saga over sale of company.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

Opticomm shareholders have overwhelmingly approved the acquisition of their company by Uniti on Friday, with 96% of eligible shareholders present voting in favour of the transaction. This played out as equalling 99.99% of the votes cast by shareholders.

Following the approval, Opticomm will seek Federal Court approval on Thursday. If approval is granted, Opticomm will seek to have the ASX suspend trading of its shares on Friday, November 13, with the acquisition scheme to be implemented a week later on November 20.

Eligible shareholders will receive 1.07 Uniti shares for each Opticomm share, AU$5.10 in cash, as well as a AU$0.10 special dividend. Foreign shareholders will also get the AU$0.10 special dividend, along with AU$6.57 in cash.

Opticomm was the subject of a bidding war between Uniti and Aware Super to gain the greenfields fibre company.

Uniti placed the initial offer, which set Opticomm's price at AU$5.20 per share or an enterprise value of around AU$560 million. Two months later, Aware Super put its hat in the ring, placing a takeover offer of AU$5.85 per share.

Uniti then amended its offer a week later, increasing its bid to AU$5.85 per share, comprised of AU$4.835 in cash per share and 0.8 Uniti shares per Opticomm share. Aware Super remained at the bidding table, however, sending another proposal that raised the price to AU$6.50 per share on October 12.

The offer from Uniti was then revised to the successful AU$6.67 per share offer.

A fortnight ago, Uniti gained ACCC approval to functionally separate to operate both as a wholesale and retail provider in greenfield areas.

At the time, the company said the separation will enable it to actively promote its retail brands to around 110,000 connected premises nationwide and an additional 44,000 premises that are currently under construction when they become connected.

Later on Friday, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) broke out the wet lettuce, and handed down a formal warning to Sydney-based telco J2 Net for not having a complaint handling process that met minimum standards.

"The ACMA investigation found J2 Net's written complaints handling process did not provide clear timeframes for each step of the complaint process, or set out when a consumer can make a complaint," ACMA said.

"The document also indicated that J2 Net's complaints handling process may not be free of charge in all instances.

"Under the [industry standard], telco complaints handling processes must specify timeframes for processing and resolving complaints. They must also have procedures for prioritising or escalating complaints, and be free of charge for consumers."

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