PSP Investments offers to buy A$854m Australian agri-business Webster

Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP Investments) has made an A$854m (€523.5m) offer for Australian listed agri-business Webster.

Webster said today that two subsidiaries of the Canadian pension investment manager – PSP Bidco and Sooke Investments – would acquire all ordinary shares that PSP Investments did not already own in the company, for a cash price of A$2.00 per Webster share.

PSP acquired a 19.1% stake in Webster a year ago.

The PSP offer represents a 57% premium to Webster shares last closing price of A$1.27.

Maurice Felizzi, Webster’s managing director and chief executive officer, said: “In assessing the proposed transaction, the non-conflicted directors considered Webster’s revenue and earnings profile (and) the current value of its underlying assets and concluded that the offer provided ordinary shareholders with the opportunity to immediately realise a significant premium to the share price without the inherent risks associated with agricultural enterprises.”

The company said the directors would unanimously recommend that Webster ordinary shareholders vote in favour of the scheme of arrangement, in the absence of a superior proposal and subject to an independent expert concluding that the scheme was in the best interests of Webster ordinary shareholders.

Webster is a leading producer of walnuts, almonds and cotton, and has sheep and cattle agricultural operations in NSW and Tasmania.

Through its natural resources group, PSP Investments has interests globally in agriculture, timberland and related opportunities via direct investments. It is one of the largest foreign investors in Australia’s agricultural sector.

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