Bidding war for Hunter Hall escalates

Bidding war for Hunter Hall escalates

Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Pinnacle Investment Management have increased their bids for ethical fund manager Hunter Hall Limited, though both offers remain below market price.

The two companies both issued takeover bids following Hunter Hall founder and chief investment officer Peter Hall’s sudden resignation on 30 December 2016, with Washington H. Soul Pattinson (WHSP) issuing a takeover bid for the firm at $1 per share, a 60 per cent discount to the stocks’ price at Mr Hall’s resignation.

Pinnacle Investment Management (PNI) subsequently issued a rival bid for HHL at $1.50 per share, increasing to $2 per share if certain conditions were met.

In a statement released to the ASX at 9:40am on Friday, 10 February, WHSP announced they had increased their bid for the company to $1.60 per share, and declared the offer “free from all conditions”.

PNI responded just prior to 2pm that same day by raising its bid to $2 per share, and likewise freeing the offer from conditions, which Pinnacle managing director Ian Macoun noted was a 25 per cent premium to WHSP’s offer.

“We have removed our offer conditions and accelerated payment terms to five business days, which is superior to WHSP’s offer terms,” he said.

“We believe we are the ideal partner for Hunter Hall and its fund investors to assist in managing a successful transition following Peter Hall’s departure.”

Both offers are still below the current stock price, which was $2.40 at market close Friday, 10 February, having climbed around 6.5 per cent since the market opened.

When WHSP made their initial offer, HHL chair Kevin Eley told InvestorDaily that the firm was engaging with some independent experts to analyse the offer as the stock was “worth a lot more than a dollar”.

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