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Hunter Hall says bid at material discount

AAP logoAAP 4/01/2017 Trevor Chappell

Hunter Hall has established an independent board committee to consider a takeover bid from investment firm Washington H. Soul Pattinson, which Hunter Hall says is at a material discount to the company's current share price.

WHSP announced on December 30 that it intends to acquire all of the shares in the ASX-listed investment manager that it does not already own, after agreeing to buy a stake of 19.9 per cent from Hunter Hall chief executive Peter Hall, who is also the largest shareholder.

Mr Hall, who controls 43.95 per cent of Hunter Hall shares, has told WHSP that he intends to accept its offer for his remaining stake of 25.05 per cent unless there is a superior offer.

WHSP is offering $1.00 per Hunter Hall share, which values the target at about $27.3 million.

Hunter Hall shares closed Wednesday down 7.0 cents, or 2.8 per cent, at $2.43.

"The WHSP takeover offer of $1.00 represents a material discount to Hunter Hall's prevailing share price, being a 67.7 per cent discount to HHL's share price prior to close on 30 December, 2016," Hunter Hall said on Wednesday

Hunter Hall said that, given the nature of the WHSP offer and Mr Hall's direct involvement, the Hunter Hall board had established an independent board committee (IBC).

"The IBC will undertake a detailed review of the WHSP takeover offer in conjunction with its advisers as well as consider all other strategic alternatives available to the company," Hunter Hall said.

Hunter Hall said its shareholders need take no action at this time, and the independent board committee would provide updates when appropriate.

Hunter Hall reconfirmed that Mr Hall would continue as Hunter Hall's chief executive and as a director of Hunter Hall International and Hunter Hall Global Value Ltd, a listed investment company managed by Hunter Hall Investment Management.

WHSP expects to lodge a bidder's statement with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and Hunter Hall within 14 days of the December 30 announcement.

Hunter Hall booked an annual profit of $7.8 million in the 2015/16 financial year - up 86.8 per cent on the prior year's profit of $4.19 million.

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