Tracking the ASX takeover deluge since 2019

June 18, 2024

The ASX is thinning out noticeably with the biggest drought of IPOs in a decade and one of the biggest runs of takeovers we've ever seen. See this list tracking 16 consecutive monthly drops of total listed entities and below is the full list of 60 takeovers of current or former ASX300 companies, plus anything capitalised at more than $200m since 2019.

2024 - 14 completed deals approved by shareholders and suspended from trade

1. Costa Group: CGC (9 years, 2015-2024): floated by the Costa family and its private equity partner Paine in 2015 and then Paine returned to privatise the business with a $1.6 billion bid in July 2023, supported by Driscoll and one other player. The scheme meeting approving the deal was held on January 30, 2024. Trading was suspended on February 8 and shareholders were paid on February 26.

2. A2B Corp: (A2B) (25 years, 1999-2024): the old Cabcharge was founded by Reg Kermode in 1976 and floated in 1999. Was renamed A2B Corporation in 2018 and then taken private by Singaporean company ComfortDelGro in 2024 for the equivalent of $2.30 per share or $182 million, by which time the business had shrunk to a fraction of its former glory. The 245 page scheme book was released on February 21 and the scheme meeting comfortably approved the deal on March 25 in Sydney at The Mint. The shares stopped trading on April 2, with settlement on April 11, the day the scheme became legally effective.

3. Boart Longyear: BLY (2007-2024): The scheme meeting to approve a $543 million US private equity takeover took place on February 21 at 10am. The shares were suspended on April 5 with shareholders paid on April 10.

4. Orecorp (ORR): after a bidding war involving SilverCorp it now appears that Perseus Mining will secure the Africa-focused miner with a cash and scrip bid valuing the equity at around $280 million or 57.5c. It's a conventional bid, not a scheme vote, so may yet take a while. The compulsory acquisition notice was sent out on April 19 when Orecorp had 95% of Perseus and it was removed from the official list on May 2.

5. Azure (AZS): (2003-2024) Initially floated in November 2003 when it raised $15 million at 25c. The Perth-based lithium company was then bought by Gina Rinehart and Chilean giant SQM in a joint $1.7 billion cash offer priced at $3.70 a share. The 292 page scheme book landed on March 4 and the scheme meeting was a physical only affair on April 8 at the Celtic Club in Perth. A pathetic effort running it as a physical AGM. The deal was approved by 98.4% of voted stock with 87% of voting shareholders in favour although this only amounted to 517 voting yes and 78 voting against, a poor turnout when the last annual report claimed it had 6,681 shareholders. The shares ceases trading on May 2 and shareholders were paid on May 9.

6. Volpara Health Technologies (VHT): an agreed takeover of the Wellington-based company by a South Korea predator Lunit Inc which valued the equity at $296m. See scheme book. Hybrid scheme meeting was held on April 12 . See text of 3 questions asked. Kiwi law requires schemes to be approved by more than 75% of voted stock and 50% of total stock and the respective results were 97% and 68%. The stock was suspended on May 3 and shareholders were paid on May 21.

7. Link Group, (9 years, 2015-2024) Japanese giant Mitsubishi agreed to pay $2.16 per share or $2.1 billion in enterprise terms after years of poor performance, much of which was associated with its UK division. The share registry and investor services business was floated at $6.37 per share in October 2015. However, when you add back the performance of PEXA, which was spun off in 2021, the performance wasn't as bad. The hybrid scheme meeting was held at 3pm on April 24 in Sydney at the Four Seasons and was approved by 99% of voted stock and 85% of voting shareholders. Shareholders were scheduled to be paid on May 14 although my payment landed on May 16. The stock was stock suspended on May 1.

8. Newmark Property REIT (NPR): the Bunnings focused BWP Trust successfully bid $250 million for fellow Bunnings landlord Newmark and reached 90% on April 24. The bid cracked 90% on April 24 and the offer closed on May 17, after compulsory acquisition had been started. Was suspended from trade on May 21 and removed from the official list on May 23.

9. Tietto Minerals (TIE): floated in 2017 when it raised $7.5m at 20c then successfully developed its Sierra Leone gold project and was taken over in 2024 in a deal which valued the company at $774m on AGM day on May 24, 2024. The Chinese predator Zhoujin Mining, first emerged with 7% when it offered 58c a share in October 2023. This was increased to 68c on April 24, 2024 and they moved to compulsory acquisition on May 24 having reached 90.7% when the offer closed on May 14. The stock was suspended on May 31 and it was removed from the official list on June 6.

10. Silver Lake Resources (SLR) (17 years, 2007-2024): raised $30 million in a 2007 float priced at 30c and was set to be acquired by fellow goldminer Red 5 in an all-scrip "merger of equals" in early 2024 which valued the 934m shares on issue at $1.12 billion the day after it was announced. The merger implementation agreement dropped with the announcement on February 5. Scheme meeting was held on is May 31 in Perth with settlement in early to mid June. Shares will stop trading on June 7 and the implementation date is June 19. Approved by 97% of voted stock and 79% of voting shareholders.

11. Probiotec (PBP): Owns 6 pharmaceutical manufacturing plants in Australia and has agreed to a takeover by Indonesian company PT Pyridam Farma Tbk which values the business at around $260 million. Grant Thornton valued the business at between $2.78 and $3.29, which fell within the $3 per share bid price. See scheme implementation agreement. Hybrid scheme meeting took place in Melbourne at 10am on May 29. Was comfortably approved and suspended from trade on June 5. Shareholders will be paid on June 18.

12. Boral (BLD): Seven Group launched a mop-up bid on February 19 comprising $1.50 in cash and total value of $6.25 a share, based on the value of Seven Group shares at the time of the bid. It was said to be a final bid and there were heavy handed de-listing threats. The independent directors recommended against, with the backing of an independent experts report from Grant Samuel which valued Boral shares at between $6.50 and $7.13 when the implied value of Seven's mop up offer was only $6.07. The offer was then sweetened on April 12, winning board endorsement. Shareholders were guaranteed a minimum $1.70 in cash, a 26c fully franked dividend was paid on April 26, costing $286m and they also announced a buyback of up 55 million shares to try and get to the 90% compulsory acquisition threshold. It worked. Seven Group started with 71.6%, the buyback topped $100 million and at one point finished up with 95.22% before later dropping back due to some exchangeable note conversions. On May 31, Seven extended the closing date until June 28 as it hit 92.9%, so the stock was suspended from trade after close of business on June 6 because the compulsory acquisition notice was issued on May 30.

13. Adbri (ABC): Irish concrete giant CRH teamed up with controlling shareholder Barro Group to lodge a $3.20 a share bid which was supported by the independent directors. The AGM was scheduled for Friday, May 24 but they received an exemption from ASIC to hold it in conjunction with the June 12 scheme meeting at 10.30am in Adelaide with an implementation date of July 1. It was a physical meeting with no online voting or questions. The company has around 17,000 retail shareholders but there was no material opposition. The stock was suspended from trade on June 17.

14. CSR: French building materials giant Saint Gobain lobbed a $9 a share bid worth $3.4 billion on February 22, securing due diligence. The stock rocketed 17% to $7.95 after a leak before trade was halted. Embarrassing. The $9 deal was agreed on February 26 and the scheme meeting was held on 9am on June 13 in Sydney, with no material opposition. See scheme book. The company has around 51,000 retail shareholders but only about 6,000 voted on the takeover. The stock will be suspended on June 19 and shareholders will be paid on July 9. Puzzled why there is a 20 day wait after the suspension.

2024 - 14 more deals in train, ranked in order of likely chronological completion date

TASK (TSK): the restaurant technology company only shifted its HQ and primary listing to Australia last year and now it is being taken over by NYSE listed rival PAR Technology in a $310 million deal announced with a full scheme implementation agreement on March 11. See our 10 questions at last year's final New Zealand AGM. The scheme book dropped on May 28 and the virtual scheme meeting starts at 11am on June 29 Sydney time.

QV Equities (QVE): WAM Capital has secured agreement for a $215 million scrip takeover. The hybrid scheme meeting in Sydney starts at 10am on June 28. See scheme book.

MMA Offshore (MRM): the board agreed to sell the business for $2.60 a share or $1.03 billion (plus debt) in a deal with Cyan Renewables, a portfolio company of Singapore-based private equity outfit Seraya Partners. The pricing was a skinny 11% premium to the previous close, hence major shareholder Pendal has come out and slammed the board for agreeing to an “absolute steal”. The scheme implementation agreement dropped on March 25 and the physical scheme meeting in Perth is on July 1. Have added them to shame file offering physical only shareholder meetings. The independent expert valued the business at between $2.03 and $2.83 a share.

Genex (GNX): Japanese firm JPower offered 27.5c which the board accepted on April 12. See sale agreement. Current market cap $380m. The scheme meeting is a genuine hybrid via Lumi at 10am on July 16. See full scheme document.

Altium (ALU): (25 years, 1999-2024) After floating as Protel International at $2 a share in August 1999 when 38% of the business was sold for $46.5 million, the electronics software maker reached agreement on February 14, 2024 for Japanese company Renesas to acquire the company at $68.50 a share or $9.1 billion in cash. The scheme meeting is a physical affair at 9am in Sydney scheduled for July 12. See scheme implementation agreement.

Alumina (AWC): (22 years, 2002-2024): was demerged out of WMC in late 2002 and then Alcoa of America finally launched its long predicted mop-up bid in February 2024, but were only offering their own shares and no cash. Alcoa will become dual listed on the ASX, a bit like the way Newcrest shareholders could swap into Newmont which is also listed on the ASX. The scheme implementation agreement was announced on March 12 and the scheme meeting is scheduled for July 18. Announced this amendment on May 21 which would limit Chinese giant CITIC to 4.5% of Alcoa's voting stock in order not to breach US laws which limit investors in US banks from owning more than 5% of US public companies.

Virgin Money (VUK): includes the old NAB UK business and received a $5.7b cash offer from Britain's largest building society, Nationwide, priced at £2.20 a share, a 38% premium to the previous close. The business is two thirds owned by Australian shareholders courtesy of being demerged by NAB in 2016. It later merged with Virgin Money in 2018. The agreed deal required approval from both sets of shareholders and shareholders can elect to be paid in pounds, Australian dollars or NZ dollars. The scheme meeting vote was held at 1.15pm on May 22 in London and was approved by 89.3% of voted stock even though only 433 shareholders bothered to vote. As can be seen on page 13 of this ASX announcement, the timetable for UK schemes can be quite drawn out and the long stop date is set down for January 31, 2025.

Pact Group (PGH) (11 years: 2013-2024): after raising $648 million from public investors at $3.80 a share in 2013, the billionaire founder Raphael Geminder is privatising it with an 84c a share offer that will cost him about $145 million. Was up to 87% by March 5 but was then slowed down by a Takeover's Panel application which saw it temporarily barred from processing acceptances. Latest filing had him at 87.63% but annoying how the notice doesn't include the percentage. There are 344.29m shares on issue if you want to work it out. The offer will close on June 7 and it may yet fall short due to some hold-outs.

Base Resources (BSE): the Australian-based and Africa-focused critical minerals company has agreed to a $375 million largely scrip takeover offer from US company Energy Fuels. The stock was last traded at 10.5c and shareholders will receive a 6.5c dividend and then Energy Fuels shares which they claim lift the total consideration to 30.2c per share, or a premium of 188%. Yes, but that depends on where the Energy Fuels share price goes.

PSC Insurance (PSI): announced an agreed takeover by Ardonagh Group on May 8 which values the business at $2.43 billion after it agreed to pay $6.19 in cash per share, a 32.7% premium to the previous close of $4.50. See scheme implementation agreement.The Manningham-based business only floated in 2015 after raising $43m at $1 a share so well done to all involved.

APM Human Services (APM): Chicago-based private equity firm and 29% shareholder Madison Dearborn has submitted a privatisation proposal after earlier floating the business at $3.55 a share in a disastrous IPO for public investors. They came back with a firm offer at $1.40 a share which requires key management to stay with the business and roll over into the bid vehicle, a feature which is proposed for other institutional shareholders. See text of 6 questions asked at 2023 AGM. Eventually, the board endorsed an offer at $1.45 per share.

Capitol Health (CAJ): the Andrew Demetriou chaired imaging diagnostics company has received a merger proposal from Integral Diagnostics (IDL) which will see 2 CAJ directors join the expanded board and the CAJ CEO secure a 2 year extension of his contract. The combined company will have a market cap of around $850 million.

Bapcor (BAP): US private equity firm Bain lobbed an opportunistic $1.83 billion non-binding offer at $5.30 a share on June 11 after a raft of board and executive upheavals, profit downgrades and bad headlines destabilised the company. Yet to see if an agreement will be struck.

Southern Cross Media (SXL): rival radio operator ARN Media has lodged a revised bid and its allies lodged a removal resolution for disagreeable SXL chair Rob Murray, who brought forward his departure, seemingly clearing the last major board obstacle for a deal to be done. The EGM request by Spheria Asset Management was withdrawn on March 28 and the ARN Media offer was withdrawn on May 11 after Anchorage withdrew from the bidding consortium. ARN is still talking about merging but SXL is clearly unimpressed so a deal looks unlikely, although Antony Catalano has now entered the play with a merger proposal with Southern Cross through his ACM outfit.

Austal (ASZ): received a non-binding offer from South Korean firm Hanwha at $2.825 on April 2 which is unlikely to succeed for sovereign security reasons. Has been nothing further to the ASX since.

2023 - 9 completed

Blackmores, (38 years, 1985-2023): founded in 1938 by Maurice Blackmore, listed in 1985 and then taken over by Japanese giant Kirin after a $1.9 billion takeover bid which completed in July 2023.

Estia Health (9 years, 2014-2023): originally floated in 2014 when it raised $725 million at $5.25 a share in a Quadrant driven private equity roll-up and flip. After woeful performance, it was then privatised by private equity firm Bain on December 15 2023 in a deal which valued the equity at $3.20 a share or $828 million. Its market cap peaked at $1.4 billion in 2015-16 when the shares topped $7 but then crashed during COVID so this was a dud for public investors who endured the full 9 year public journey.

Invocare, (20 years, 2003-2023): the death industry giant has agreed to a takeover by private equity firm TPG with a shareholder vote due later this year. It was floated in 2003 at $1.85 a share raising $186 million for the equity.

Mincor Resources (1997-2023): listed in 1997 as AfricWest Gold before later pivoting to nickel. Twiggy Forrest privatised the nickel miner in July 2023, paying $1.40 a share or $760 million in cash.

Newcrest Mining: The last big gold miner standing and recently agreed to be taken over by Denver-based US giant Newmont in an all-scrip offer valued at $29 billion which completed on November 6, 2023.

OZ Minerals, (15 years, 2008-2023): was created from the 2007 merger of Oxiana Resources and Zinifex but then almost collapsed after the GFC when most of its assets were sold to CCP-controlled entities. Was left with the fabulous Prominent Hill copper gold mine which BHP bought for almost $10 billion when it paid $28.50 a share for the company in 2023.

Pendal, (16 years, 2007-2023): initially partially floated by Westpac as BT Investment Management in 2007, then after the bank fully exited it changed its name and was taken over by rival Perpetual in a $2.4 billion deal after a lengthy battle which finally settled in January 2023.

Slater and Gordon, (16 years, 2007-2023): never officially collapsed as was rescued in a scheme of arrangement but the final full year result was a $546.8 million loss in 2016-17 and this followed a $1.017 billion loss in 2015-16. Did a massive debt for equity swap to stay listed before Allegro privatised it in 2023.

United Malt, (3 years, 2020-2023): was spun out of Graincorp in 2020 but then snapped up by Soufflet Group, a private French company controlled by the Soufflet family when it offered $5 a share or $1.5 billion in July 2023.

2022 - 7

Ausnet Services, (17 years, 2005-2022): originally floated as SP Ausnet by Singapore Power in 2005 when it raised $1.6 billion at $1.38 after aggregating some privatised gas and electricity utilities. Changed its name to Ausnet after the Singaporeans sold a 20% stake to the Chinese Government's State Grid and was then taken private by Brookfield in February 2022 in a deal which valued the business at more than $15 billion, including debt.

Coca Cola Amatil, (49 years, 1972-2021): taken over by sister company Coca Cola Enterprises in May 2021 with an offer of $13.50 a share which valued the business at $9.8 billion.

Crown Resorts/PBL, (30 years, 1992-2022): effectively started with Kerry Packer's 1992 IPO of ACP Magazines which was then merged with Nine, which in turn was the rebranded Bond Media. Privatised by private equity giant Blackstone in June 2022 for about $9 billion.

Leighton-CIMIC, 2022: was controlled by German giant Hochtief for decades as Wal King built it into an Australian giant, then Spanish rival ACS bought Hochtief and later fully privatised the renamed CIMIC in 2022.

Sydney Airport, (20 years, 2002-2022): floated by Macquarie in the early 2000s as Macquarie Airports then sold off everything except Sydney Airport which was privatised by a group of industry funds and international investors for more than $20 billion with an $8.75 a share bid in 2022.

Uniti Group, (3 years, 2019-2022): only floated in 2019 with an $18m raising at 25, the undertook a blizzard of takeovers the broadband networks owner fell to a consortium led by New Zealand's Morrison & Co and Canada's Brookfield Asset Management after they offered $3.6 billion or $5 a share in 2022.

Western Areas, (22 years, 2000-2022: floated at 20c in 2000 after $5m raising and was eventually taken over by nickel-lithium outfit IGO after protracted negotiations in a deal that valued the company at $1.3 billion. Just been blasted by The AFR's Chanticleer for writing the investment down by $700m.

2021 - 8

Afterpay, 2021: Block Inc, the US payments company founded by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey (which used to be called Square), bought Afterpay in 2021 offering 18% of its own expanded share capital, although some analysts value the Afterpay business at zero.

ALE Property Group, 2021: the pubs landlord was privatised in December 2021 after a joint bid by Charter Hall and industry fund HostPlus priced at $5.88 a share.

Bingo, (4 years, 2017-2021): floated by the founding Tartak family at $1.80 a share in 2017 and then privatised by a Macquarie fund in 2021 which paid $2.3 billion or $3.45 a share.

Galaxy Resources, (15 years, 2006-2021): taken over by lithium rival Orocobre in a $4 billion all scrip deal in 2021 although it was a more a merger of equals with Galaxy shareholders finishing up with 45.8% of the new entity which trades as Allkem. Stock has since soared to a $10.5b market cap with Toyota as the only substantial shareholder with a 6.16% stake. Galaxy Resources was first floated in 2006 after raising $3m at 20c.

Milton, (63 years, 1958-2021): mopped up by Soul Pattinson through an over the top all scrip $4 billion offer in 2021 which took out 29,000 shareholders.

Spark Infrastructure, (16 years, 2005-2021): floated in 2005 when the Chinese purchasers of privatisated state utility asset raised $1.81 billion at $2 a share. Was then privatised in December 2021 by private equity firm KKR and the Ontario Teachers fund with an offer pitched at $2.95 a share.

Tassal, (18 years, 2003-2021): floated at 50c a share in 2003 when it raised $31 million and eventually bought by Canadian fish giant Cooke Inc which paid $1.1 billon for Tasmanian-based salmon giant in 2021.

Vocus Communications, (22 years, 1999-2021): raised $20m at $1 a share when it listed in 1999 and then the telco was privatised by Macquarie and Aware Super after they lobbed an offer priced at $5.50 a share in 2021 which valued the business at $3.5 billion.

2020 - 4

Infigen Energy, (15 years, 2005-2020): the old Babcock and Brown Wind was floated in 2005, changed its name to Infigen in 2009 and then bought by Spain's Iberdrola for $841 million in 2020 but it had traded higher.

Nearmap, (22 years, 2000-2022): floated in 2000 after raising $10m at 25c and then US private equity firm Thomas Bravo paid $2.10 a share or $1.05 billion, which at the time was nearly double the prevailing share price.

Oil Search, 2021: completed a $21 billion all-scrip merger with Santos in 2021 in which Oil Search shareholders finished up with 38.5% of the business. Three Oil Search directors joined the Santos board - Eileen Doyle, Musje Werror and Michael Utsler - whilst Susan Cunningham, Fiona Harris, Bakheet Al Katheeri, Kostas Constantinou and chairman Rick Lee all departed.

Village Roadshow, 2020: privatised by private equity firm BGH in 2020 after previously trading at much higher prices.

2019 - 6

Aveo, (25 years, 1998-2019): Canadian giant Brookfield plucked the large residential aged care business off the ASX boards in 2019 for a $2 billion enterprise valuation or a $1.3 billion equity value, swooping in with a 28 per cent premium at a time when its target was caving under regulatory scrutiny. It then refinanced a $1.45 billion debt in July 2023. It was previously known as FKP, a Gold Coast-focused property developer which was born in 1998 in the merger of Peter Kurts Properties, founded by the late Peter Kurts in 1964, with Forrester Parker Group, run by Rod Forrester and Phil Parker.

Bellamy's, (5 years, 2014-2019): Chinese firm Mengnui bid $13.25 a share in 2019 for the Tasmanian-based powdered milk company, valuing the business at $1.5 billion.

Dulux, (9 years, 2010-2019): was demerged by Orica in July 2010 and then 9 years later was acquired by Nippon Paint for $4.2 billion.

Healthscope, (5 years, 2014-2019): after being floated by private equity firms TPG and Carlyle in July 2014 raising $2.57 billion at $2.29, the private hospital operator was bought by Canadian giant Brookfield in 2019 for $4.4 billion after winning a takeover bidding war against rival private equity firm BGH which had teamed up with Australian Super.

MYOB, (4 years, 2015-2019): has been floated and privatised twice, the second time in 2019 when private equity giant KKR paid $2 billion, just 4 years after private equity firm Bain floated 39% of the business at $3.65 a share in 2015, raising $833 million.

Navitas, (15 years, 2004-2019): the private education provider was privatised by Melbourne-based private equity firm BGH in a $2.1 billion deal in 2019.

Trade Me, (8 years, 2011-2019): the ebay of New Zealand was floated off by Fairfax in December 2011 at $NZ2.70 a share and then acquired by Apax Partners for $NZ6.45 a share in early 2019.