As the takeover of Sydney Airport (ASX: SYD) draws closer, investors of Australia’s largest airport operator are being prompted to speak up or likely forever hold their peace.
The suggestion to make any discontent with the buyout known in court has come from the Australian Shareholders Association (ASA). Importantly, the ASA wants small investors not to simply assume that the proposed takeover is a done deal.
Making sure smaller voices are heard
Less than two weeks after private shareholder Joe Cambria voiced his disappointment with the $23 billion takeover offer, the ASA is now giving investors the nudge to make their grievances known. In the case of Cambria, he believes that the airport is worth $12 per share, rather than the proposed $8.75 being offered by the consortium of buyers.
According to ASA, investors should read the scheme booklet carefully once issued. From there, any misaligned details could have the potential to be argued at court.
While the likelihood of a takeover being overturned by the court is low, it is possible. However, it would likely require minority voters to uncover a flaw within the takeover process.
To deliver such a blow, minority shareholders would need to put together an additional independent report. For Michael Pinn, a Sydney Airport investor, this would be an expensive task — though it was still in the realm of possibilities.
Speaking directly to investors of the ASX-listed Sydney Airport via email, ASA said:
The meeting is your opportunity to have your say and if you want to affect the outcome you need to submit a vote for or against the scheme.
Furthermore, shareholders should receive the Sydney Airport scheme booklet roughly a month before the vote is held.
ASX-listed Sydney Airport takeover already on regulator’s radar
In addition to retail investor concerns, the Sydney Airport deal has also gained the attention of regulatory bodies. As my colleague Brooke previously covered, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has already begun its review process.
Furthermore, the corporate watchdog is particularly concerned about the ownership structure post-takeover. This might be due to the consortium’s existing part ownership in Melbourne Airport and Brisbane Airport.
Suggestions have been made by the ACCC for the separation of ownership from within the acquiring entity. If the consortium fails to abide by the regulator’s advice, the takeover might come to a screeching halt.
Shares in Sydney Airport on the ASX are up 31% since the start of the year.