Link Group shareholders approve $2.46b takeover by Canada's Dye & Durham

Link Group shareholders approve $2.46b takeover by Canada's Dye & Durham

Shareholders of Australia’s largest provider of superannuation fund and share administration services Link Group (ASX: LNK) have voted in favour of a $2.46 billion takeover offer from Canadian software group Dye & Durham.

The vote paves the way for Dye & Durham to assume control of Link by the end of September after it was revealed that the bidder’s biggest hurdle, approval by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), has been all but secured after the Canadian company had agreed to sell its existing Australian operations.

The Link board unanimously recommended shareholders accept Dye & Durham’s base offer of $4.81 a share after it was increased from an earlier bid of $4.57 a share.

Link chairman Michael Carapiet told shareholders in Sydney today that the Canadian company had made progress on the regulatory approvals it needed to secure its target which, apart from the ACCC, includes the Foreign Investment Review Board and the UK Financial Conduct Authority.

The only other matter casting a cloud over the deal is a class action against Link Group in the UK relating to the failed $7 billion Woodford Equity Income Fund, which was administered by Link through its UK subsidiary Link Fund Solutions. The takeover is dependent on no adverse matters emerging by the date of settlement of the Dye & Durham scheme.

The ACCC announced earlier this month that it received undertaking from Dye & Durham that it would sell its SAI Global and GlobalX businesses which it acquired in 2021. However, the sell-off excludes UK operations of GlobalX.

Dye & Durham provides cloud-based software and technology services in the UK, Canada, Ireland and Australia and the issue of concern for the ACCC is Link Group’s 42.77 per cent stake in property settlements services operator PEXA Group (ASX: PXA). GlobalX and PEXA both operate in the conveyancing space and the takeover would give the Canadian control over a big share of the settlements market.

Just over 98.7 per cent of Link Group of the votes cast by shareholders were in favour of the offer presented by Dye & Durham.

Apart from the remaining regulatory hurdles, the scheme must now be approved by the Supreme Court of NSW at a hearing set for 9 September 2022.

Link Group will apply for its shares to be suspended from the ASX at the close of trading on 9 September.

Shareholders may also receive a special dividend of 8c per share with a record date of 12 September 2022. The record date for shareholders to participate in the Dye & Durham scheme is 20 September 2022.

Shares in Link Group closed at $4.37 after the shareholder vote.

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