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NZX says Jo'berg Stock Exchange offer for BESA too low

Tuesday 4th November 2008

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NZX, which owns 22% of the Bond Exchange of South Africa, said an unsolicited takeover offer from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange is too low and doesn't take into account the target's growth potential.

"NZX's initial view is that the JSE offer price is extremely low, is very significantly below fair value, and NZX would not support a takeover at this offer price," it said in a statement.

The JSE last month said it would offer 90 rand a share, or 173 million rand for BESA to expand in the interest rate market. NZX likened the offer to the Australian Stock Exchange's unsuccessful proposal to acquire New Zealand's bourse in 2000. NZX's market value has soared since then.

BESA, Africa's largest debt market, yesterday said it is still evaluating the JSE offer. Other shareholders in the bond exchange are Investec Group, with 15%, Standard Bank with 6.9% and Purple Capital with 5.3%.

BESA has about 99 million rand in guarantee funds. Shares of NZX gained 0.8% to $6.05 and have declined 24% in the past six months.

By Jonathan Underhill

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