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Abano continues to resist takeovers, rejects approach from Archer, Hutson

Monday 16th September 2013

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Abano Healthcare Group, the healthcare services investor, has rejected an amended takeover proposal from Archer Capital and shareholding director Peter Hutson saying they don't offer enough for control and the buyout firm is a potential rival.

Archer and Hutson last Friday "re-activated" an unsolicited proposal first made, and rejected, last month to acquire Abano, the company said in a statement. The latest iteration trims the indicative price that would be offered to $6.97 a share from $7.14, to reflect dividend payments and capital raising, and proposes the sale of the company's audiology business, for a nominal sum, to Hutson's interests.

The shares last traded unchanged at $6.55 and have gained about 5.5 percent this year.

Hutson has an interest in about 14 percent of Abano and has been a co-investor with the company in its international ventures. He was a founder of Bay Audiology, which Abano took control of in 2005 and exited his stake with Abano when Bay Audiology was sold for a profit in 2009 to buyout firm Crescent Partners.

Crescent had tried to acquire Abano in 2008, while the Christchurch-based Stewart family attempted a partial takeover in 2007. Both were rejected.

Today, Abano said Archer's indicated price "falls well below the level the board considers reflects fair value for a 100 percent control acquisition, particularly having regard to prices recently paid for consolidated dental businesses in Australia and the various growth stages of each of Abano's existing businesses."

It described Archer as "a well-resourced potential competitor" that was asking for confidential and competitively sensitive information. Abano wasn't starved of capital to make acquisitions so wasn't in need of the capital injection Archer proposed if it took the company private.

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