Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG) triumphs in battle over Vitalharvest shares

Macquarie Group (ASX: MQG) appears to have won the battle with private equity firm Roc for control of Vitalharvest Freehold (ASX: VTH) shares.

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Macquarie Group Ltd (ASX: MQG) seems to have won the battle with private equity firm Roc for control of Vitalharvest Freehold Trust (ASX: VTH) shares.

In a statement to the ASX this morning, the real estate investment trust (REIT) said it has accepted an offer from Macquarie Group subsidiary Macquarie Agricultural Funds Management (MAFM) to buy the trust at $1.26 per share. The price will not be discounted by the already paid dividend of 2.5 cents per share.

At the time of writing, Vitalharvest shares are down 0.39% to trade for $1.285 each – still 2.5 cents above the MAFM offer. The Macquarie Group share price is 0.25% lower to $160.09 each.

Let’s take a closer look at today’s developments.

Vitalharvest agrees to Macquarie offer

While the Vitalharvest board is unanimously recommending shareholders accept the scheme of arrangement with MAFM, and it has ceased contact with Roc, the takeover tumult may not actually be over.

On 26 April, Vitalharvest previously advised investors it was recommending shareholders accept an offer from Macquarie for $1.24 a share. It also said at the time it was ceasing contact with Roc. However, only 4 days later, Roc bettered the MAFM offer for Vitalharvest shares by 1 cent. Macquarie then upped its offer, which the REIT accepted today. Roc may still submit another offer.

Macquarie and Roc have been bidding with each other for Vitalharvest shares since November last year. The war has seen the share price of the trust increase from 78.5 cents to its record high of $1.30. This was achieved during intraday trading today.

If Roc does not submit an improved offer, Vitalharvest shareholders will vote to approve or reject the offer from MAFM by sometime in May, according to the statement.

What’s been happening to Macquarie and Vitalharvest shares recently?

Over the past 12 months, Vitalharvest shares have increased in value by around 92%. As mentioned, this has mostly been driven by the bidding war between MAFM and Roc. If Roc decides to submit a higher offer, the Vitalharvest share price could increase, if its behaviour over the last 6 months is anything to go by.

The Macquarie share price, on the other hand, has increased by around 65% over the past year. It is unlikely today’s news will have too much of an impact on its share price. Macquarie’s primary operations centre around its banking division.

Vitalharvest has a market capitalisation of $238.1 million and Macquarie Group’s is $57.8 billion.

Motley Fool contributor Marc Sidarous has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Macquarie Group Limited. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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