Uniti enters into AU$3.62b takeover bid with Morrison-Brookfield consortium

Uniti's board of directors have unanimously recommended that shareholders vote in favour of the scheme.

Uniti Group has signed a AU$3.62 billion takeover deed with a consortium led by New Zealand's Morrison and Co and Canada's Brookfield Asset Management.

Under the scheme implementation deed, MBC BidCo (MBC) is offering a cash price of AU$5.00 per Uniti share, valuing the deal at AU$3.62 billion and an enterprise value of approximately AU$3.73 billion.

Uniti's board of directors have unanimously recommended shareholders vote in favour of the scheme. Uniti shareholders will cast their vote on the sale deed in a meeting scheduled for July.

"The value placed on Uniti by the Morrison/Brookfield Consortium is a testament to the strength of the Uniti business we have built over the last three years since our listing on the ASX in February 2019," Uniti managing director and CEO Michael Simmons said.

"We have built a high quality business with long-term annuity earnings, generation from best-in-class fibre access networks and telecommunications technologies."

Uniti first entered discussions with Morrison and Co last month, before the investment firm was joined by Brookfield, which resulted in an initial offer of AU$4.50 per share.

Following that offer, Uniti Group was approached by Connect Consortium, which included Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets and Canada's Public Sector Pension Investment Board, which put forward a cash consideration of AU$5 per share to acquire Uniti. This offer was then matched by MBC at the end of last month.

At the time, Uniti said that while both price offers were the same, Connect Consortium required that the company not enter into binding transaction documents with another party regardless of whether the alternative proposal was superior to the terms it had offered.

During its first-half results, Uniti had reported a 98% jump to AU$110 million, a 355% spike in EBITDA to AU$65.8 million, and an increase in net profit from AU$3.9 million to AU$29 million.

"Well over 90% of our earnings are now generated from high margin, recurring, annuity revenues which are delivered predominantly on our owned super-fast FttP networks, and this ratio will continue to expand as our contracted FttP order book of nearly 300,000 premises deploys over the years ahead," Simmons said at the time.

The results followed Uniti's purchases of Opticomm and Telstra Velocity, which it spent the past year integrating.

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