Amcom beats down TPG's attempts to block Vocus merger

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Amcom beats down TPG's attempts to block Vocus merger

Overwhelming shareholder support for $1.2 billion deal.

Amcom Telecommunications shareholders have smacked down TPG's efforts to scuttle the company's merger with Vocus Communications in a mass turn out of support for the deal.

Amcom and Vocus agreed last December to merge in a deal that would form a $1.2 billion communications provider, but have faced hurdles along the way after TPG boosted its holding in Amcom to an almost 20 percent blocking stake in an effort to scuttle the deal.

The companies needed more than 75 percent of Amcom shareholders to turn up and support the merger - a high target for a non-compulsory vote.

However, a fierce campaign to shore up shareholder support over the last few weeks was today successful, with more than 90 percent of non-TPG Amcom shareholders voting yes for the deal to go ahead.

Vocus CEO James Spenceley told iTnews the final vote was 181 million shares in favour and 53 million against the deal.

It equates to 77 percent support when including TPG's stake - and a staggering 97 percent excluding TPG's 20 percent shareholding.

"This is the big hurdle, it's the one we had to win and we did. It's a pretty clear and resounding vote," Spenceley said.

He said TPG had been Amcom and Vocus' best and worst enemy in the process, claiming its actions, combined with the pair's strong communications campaign to shareholders, motivated the Amcom shareholder base to act. 

"The way they went about it and the self-interest they showed motivated shareholders to take action," he told iTnews.

"It's the right result for shareholders and the industry, and it sends a clear message to TPG."

Amcom and Vocus are now expecting TPG to use the courts in a final attempt to stop the deal from proceeding.

Vocus offloaded its 10 percent stake in Amcom last month to unassociated parties to increase the chances of the deal going ahead - under the pair's scheme of arrangement Vocus could not vote in favour of the merger.

The companies are preparing for TPG to claim in court the stake offloaded by Vocus was tainted and should be excluded from the count.

Amcom is due to get court approval for the merger this coming Tuesday.

Spenceley said the companies were expecting such a move and were working with their lawyers on a response.

TPG has been contacted for comment on its next move in light of today's vote.

The company has publicly highlighted its intention to derail the takeover in favour of Amcom continuing as a standalone business under current management.

Amcom and Vocus argue TPG is acting in self-interest and has shown no willingness to discuss its concerns with the merger.

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