AGL confirms it considered Vocus acquisition

Offer withdrawn after companies were unable to agree on due diligence terms

Energy company AGL has confirmed that it considered a foray into the telco sector through the acquisition of Vocus, but said it has withdrawn a non-binding, indicative offer for the company.

In a short statement issued to the ASX, the company conformed an Australian Financial Review report, with AGL saying it sought access to due diligence materials in order to determine whether to make a binding offer for Vocus.

“AGL has now withdrawn this non-binding indicative offer after being unable to agree due diligence terms that were acceptable to AGL,” the company said.

In commentary on the company’s results for the six-month period ended 31 December, CEO Brett Redman said that AGL had concluded there were “compelling opportunities for AGL to allocate capital to growing value along three horizons”, one of which was “Creating new opportunities with increasingly connected customers as energy and data value streams converge.”

“In recent months, AGL has been assessing investment opportunities to support this strategy,” the AGL statement released this morning said.

Earlier this week Vocus revealed it had granted non-exclusive due diligence access to private equity firm EQT Infrastructure. EQT has made a non-binding, indicative offer for the telco of $5.25 per share in cash, or about $3.27 billion.

In 2017, both KKR and Affinity indicated they were interested in potentially picking up the telco. The firms were unable to come up with terms acceptable to Vocus’ board, however.

In February Vocus said that although revenue for its enterprise, wholesale and government business was up, the revenue of its consumer and SMB arms had dropped in its first half.

Vocus is facing a class action lawsuit alleging that it failed to meet its continuous disclosure obligations in relation to its FY17 earnings guidance.

In November 2016, Vocus said it expected full-year revenue of $1.9 billion, EBITDA of between $430 million and $450 million, and net profit after tax of $205 million to $215 million.

In May 2017 it downgraded its forecast to revenue of $1.8 billion, EBITDA of $365 million to $375 million, and NPAT of $160 million to $165 million.

Vocus is defending the court action.

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