‘What do the shareholders want to do?’ How SCA will address ARN’s takeover bid at AGM tomorrow

Just a week after rival radio competitor, ARN, announced a shock takeover bid, all eyes will be on Southern Cross Austereo at its annual general meeting on Friday.

Since the proposal was announced last week – which would see ARN create a “focused” metro radio network of 10 stations across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth with each city featuring a KIIS and Triple M brand – reports have emerged that SCA are looking for a counterbid, while Australian Community chairman, Antony Catalano, is rumoured to be in the mix.

Speaking on the latest episode of the Mumbrellacast, former national director of operations and general manager of 2DayFM and Triple M Sydney and former Macquarie Media CEO, Adam Lang, said Friday’s AGM will be one to watch, given that “people who are interested enough to go to an annual general meeting probably would have read the news.”

“Ultimately, it comes down to what do the shareholders of SCA want to do? What’s the best offer for them?” Lang said.

“And so, anything can happen in the short term. But once a deal has got the recommendation of the board, usually it comes as a, ‘Yep, we believe this is in the best interest of shareholders.’

“Often, they’ll say ‘subject to another bid coming along’. Then that starts to proceed through the approvals process… so that takes time. But you may get to a point where the SCA board is willing to endorse a bid subject to any other bids coming along.”

Further muddying the waters, AFR reported this week that Nick Bolton – managing director and CEO of Keybridge Capital – has claimed ARN’s recent purchase of SCA shares was a breach of the Corporations Act.

Takeover Panels chief, Allan Bulman, issued a statement on Wednesday, confirming that Keybridge had submitted an application to the panel, however a sitting panel is yet to be appointed.

Though the AGM is expected to be carried out as business as usual, it’s fair to say the ARN proposal will be top of mind for the shareholders at tomorrow’s meeting, which Lang said should come as no surprise.

However, what should not be expected according to Lang, is any finalised plans or response to the bid by SCA.

“I think what we know is that they’ll have to say something, right? Let’s face it, it’ll only have been 10 days since they received the bid. That’s not a lot of time to come up with a substantial announcement to make,” Lang said.

“I would say it’s arguably not enough time. They could have done it, but I’m not expecting that.”

Click here to listen to Lang’s full comments on the latest Mumbrellacast.

Mumbrella will be at Friday’s AGM so keep an eye on the website for more updates.


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