TPG Telecom (ASX: TPM) shareholders have voted almost unanimously in favour of a merger with Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA), with management hopeful ordinary trading of the combined group will start on 14 July.
The vote was able to proceed after the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approved the deal in May, following a failed legal challenge by Australia's competition watchdog to prevent the merger from going ahead.
TPG reports 99.19 per cent of shareholders present at today's scheme meeting voted in favour, while 99.99 per cent of the votes cast were in favour.
"TPG shareholders have voted overwhelmingly in favour of the proposed merger with VHA," says TPG chairman David Teoh.
"This is an important milestone to have reached as we work to bring together our two highly complementary businesses to create a leading integrated, full-service telecommunications company with a comprehensive portfolio of fixed and mobile products in the Australian telecommunications market."
Orders will be sought from the Supreme Court of New South Wales for approval this Friday, and if approved there TPG plans to lodge orders with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) on 29 June, with the scheme becoming effective as of that date.
VHA is 50-50 owned by the UK's Vodafone Plc and Hutchison Telecommunications (Australia) Limited (ASX: HTA), itself majority owned by Hutchison Telecommunications (Amsterdam) B.V. while Spark NZ (ASX: SPK) also has a 10 per cent share.
But under the scrip-based merger VHA will take a 50.1 per cent stake in the combined entity, and VHA shares will be renamed to TPG Telecom.
Shares in Tuas Limited, which will be distributed to TPG shareholders as part of a demerger of TPG's Singapore business, are expected to be admitted to ASX's official list on 30 June 2020 under the ASX code 'TUA'.
VHA chief executive officer Iñaki Berroeta says today's scheme vote is one of the final steps towards implementation of the merger of equals.
"Today is a significant milestone in the merger process and subject to final court approval, we will be bringing VHA and TPG together in two and a half weeks," he says.
"The merger will create a leading full-service telecommunications provider which will be well-positioned to drive stronger competition in the market and deliver benefits to customers and shareholders."
If all goes to plan, TPG shares will be suspended from trading at the market close on 29 June, and then readmitted to the ASX's official list on 30 June with trading taking place on a deferred basis until the scheme is implemented - likely on 13 July with ordinary trading to restart the next day.Never miss a news update, subscribe here. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.
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