MYOB tries to halt takeover bid

Accounting software company MYOB has lodged an application with the Takeovers Panel seeking to halt a $487 million takeover bid from Manhattan Software, which is backed by private equity firm Archer Capital.

Accounting software company MYOB has lodged an application with the Takeovers Panel seeking to halt a $487 million takeover bid from Manhattan Software, which is backed by private equity firm Archer Capital.

MYOB is unhappy with Manhattan’s pronouncement that it has reached an agreement with 34% of MYOB’s institutional shareholders to sell their shares as soon as the bid opens.

The application with the Takeovers Panel argues that Manhattan’s agreement with the institutional shareholders amounts to “unacceptable circumstances” in contravention of the Corporations Act and have an anti-competitive effect on the market for MYOB shares.

MYOB wants assurances that the commitments from the institutional shareholders are no longer binding and wants Manhattan to make a statement to the market to this effect.

The software giant also wants Manhattan to prepare and issue a supplementary and replacement bidder’s statement and wait at least two weeks before sending it to shareholders.

But Manhattan has denied have made any agreements with MYOB institutional shareholders that could force them to accept the offer.

MYOB’s application comes just days after the company revealed it was in discussions with parties interested in making alternative proposals.

MYOB realises flushing out a rival, higher offer than Manhattan’s $1.02 a share deal (rising to $1.12 if it can move to compulsory acquisition) will be very difficult if more than a third of shareholders are already committed to the Manhattan deal, and will he hoping the Takeovers Panel gives it the assurances it has been seeking.

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