Navitas agrees to $2.1b takeover offer

Navitas agrees to $2.1b takeover offer

Education services provider Navitas (ASX: NVT) has agreed to a $2.1 billion takeover offer from a consortium led by private equity firm BGH Capital after months of wrangling between the two camps.

BGH Capital, along with AustralianSuper and former Navitas CEO and founder Rod Jones, secured its long-awaited first deal after stalking its target for almost six months.

Navitas entered into a scheme implementation deed with the consortium after its board of directors unanimously recommended shareholders vote in favour of the scheme.

Under the offer, Navitas shareholders will receive $5.85 a share if they vote to approve the scheme in June.

"BGH and I have a shared vision for Navitas which is centred around quality, student experiences, student outcomes and developing very deep, trusted relationships with our university partners," Jones says in a statement.

Jones (pictured) stepped down as Navitas CEO and MD last June and was replaced by its CFO David Buckingham.

The BGH-led consortium initially offered $5.50 a share last October while Navitas shares were trading at $4.35.

That led to a heated AGM at the end of 2018 where the Navitas board came under fire for not granting due diligence over the $5.50 offer. Chairman Tracy Horton only just held her position as shareholders delivered a protest vote.

The sweetened $5.85 a share offer was made in January and this prompted the Navitas board to carry out due diligence.

BGH was formed in 2017 and is headed by Ben Gray, who was previously the head of private equity giant TPG in Australia and New Zealand.

It was expected that BGH would embark on an immediate acquisition spree and it partnered with AustralianSuper to offer $4.1 billion for Healthscope, only to be beaten by a higher offer from Canadian giant Brookfield.

On Thursday, Navitas received a further boost when a UK court ruled its local subsidiary was exempt from paying value added tax (VAT), the GST equivalent, which resulted a $5 million full year profit boost.

Navitas shares were in a trading halt on Thursday and at around 11am (AEST) on Friday they had risen 2 percent to $5.74.

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