Panel Vote May Threaten Ainsworth Pokies Deal
The drama of Len Ainsworth’s sale of his 53 percent shares in his company to Novomatic, has just got more tense. The Australian Securities and Investment Commission has lodged an unusual application with the Takeovers Panel to bar his wife from voting as a minority shareholder on the sale.
Mr Ainsworth is hoping to sell his 53 percent share in the poker machine company that he founded, Ainsworth Game Technology (AGT). With an offer of $2.75 per share, this deal could net Mr Ainsworth $473 million.
However, as an 8.9 percent minority shareholder, the commission wants to prevent Mrs Ainsworth from being allowed to vote, believing she would help push the deal through. Despite the board recommending the transaction, the matter is to be decided at an extraordinary general meeting on June 3 and requires more than 50 percent of minority shareholders to vote in favour of the deal.
Some shareholders are suggesting a full takeover of AGT is in order and are questioning why Ainsworth did not demand the same $2.75 per share across the board.
The Austrian pokies operator, Novomatic, said they are confident that the deal will be approved. Mr Ainsworth demanded that the company remain Australian listed and partially in public hands and top executives from Novomatic engaged in private discussions with AGT shareholders last week. They have pointed out that probity clearances are required from regulators in Australia and the US which could take longer than 12 months.
Last week, Novomatic agreed to purchase 2,000 machines from Ainsworth over the coming two years to use in its European clubs and casinos. If the deal goes through, it has been projected that Ainsworth’s revenue would increase by $23.8 million in the 2017 and $55.7 million in the 2018 financial years.
April 16, 2017