GPG gives nod to sweeter ClearView bid

Deal will see Gary Weiss installed as ClearView chairman

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BUSINESSDESK: Corporate raider Guinness Peat Group has given the nod to a better offer for ASX-listed financial services firm ClearView Wealth after turning its nose up at the original bid of $A220 million.

Buyout firm Crescent Capital Partners, via holding vehicle CCP BidCo Pty, has raised its offer by 18% to 59 Australian cents per share for the wealth manager, made up of a 55 cents cash offer, a special 2.2 cent unfranked dividend and letting ClearView pay its 2012 final dividend of 1.8 cents.

That values the company at $A262.8 million but is still south of the 68 Australian cents to 74 cents value range in independent expert KPMG's assessment.

GPG, which owns about 48% of ClearView, has indicated it will accept the offer and stands to reap $A125.6 million from the sale at the improved price. The deal will also see GPG's former executive director Gary Weiss installed as ClearView's chair.

"Under the negotiated arrangements, GPG is able to fulfill its objective, ClearView shareholders receive a substantially increased payment opportunity and the company gains a majority shareholder with the capital and experience to add value so ClearView may continue the execution of its profitable growth objectives," current ClearView chairman Ray Kellerman says.

With GPG's acceptance, Crescent will pass its 50% target, having built up a 12% stake through various put and call options with existing shareholders including Ariadne Australia, which counts Mr Weiss as an executive director.

ClearView is GPG's third-biggest asset behind British threadmaker Coats and NZX-listed insurer Tower, with the investment valued at £81 million as at June 30.

The offer closes on September 14.

ClearView's shares were halted at 58 Australian cents today.


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