Charter Hall and Abacus bid for Australian Unity Office Fund

Charter Hall Group has teamed with Abacus Property Group to lodge a takeover bid for another listed entity, Australian Unity Office Fund (AOF), after jointly acquiring a 19.9% strategic stake for A$95.6m (€95.6m).

AOF halted trading on Tuesday, after receiving a non-binding indicative offer for all its units from Charter Hall and Abacus.

The suitors informed the Australian Securities Exchange of their intention to make a bid for the company, which owns a portfolio of office buildings across Australia, valued at A$641m at the end of 2018.

Charter Hall and Abacus have formed a special purpose vehicle to hold their interests in AOF. The partners each own 50% of the vehicle.

They have entered into a framework agreement under which they would co-operate for the purposes of a takeover transaction.

The pair said they paid A$2.95 per unit for AOF shares to gain a substantial holding in AOF. In their statement they said they would now seek to initiate discussions with AOF’s responsible entity regarding a potential transaction.

Last year, AOF rebuffed a takeover offer from Starwood Capital, which made an unsolicited, indicative, nonbinding offer to acquire all AOF units at A$2.87 per security.

“Both Abacus and Charter Hall are very familiar with AOF’s property portfolio and the sub-markets that these properties are located in,” they said in the statement.

Abacus, capitalised at A$2.3bn, is led by former Charter Hall executive, Steven Sewell.

Charter Hall is one of Australia’s fastest- growing property groups and currently manages A$28.4bn of real estate.

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  • Australian Unity 30 Pirie St Adelaide

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