Amcom, Vocus enter trading halts ahead of crucial merger vote

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Amcom, Vocus enter trading halts ahead of crucial merger vote

While TPG's iiNet bid gets assessor's green light.

Telecommunications providers Amcom and Vocus have entered trading halts as they prepare for the result of a crucial shareholder vote on a proposed merger.

Amcom will need an unprecedented 75 percent of its shareholders to front up and vote in favour of the proposed merger after rival ISP TPG attempted to block the deal.

The formal physical vote will take place at 11am Perth time (1pm EST). The deadline for proxy votes was last Friday.

Amcom and Vocus have been campaigning fiercely among Amcom's shareholder base to gain support for the deal, which would create a $1.2 billion telecommunications company.

Vocus sold down 10 percent of its stake in Amcom last month so it could use its holding to vote in favour of the merger.

It was forced to act after TPG increased its own stake to just under 20 percent - the most it can own without launching a takeover bid - in early May.

TPG had increased its Amcom stake on a number of occasions since the proposed merger was announced last year in an effort to scuttle the plan.

The company has acknowledged its intention to derail the takeover and said it supports Amcom continuing as a standalone business under current management.

Amcom and Vocus argue TPG has shown no willingness to discuss its concerns with the merger and claim the ISP is motivated only by self interest.

Both companies have said they will report TPG to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

TPG's iiNet bid backed as 'fair' by independent reviewer

TPG on Friday received a boost in its bid to acquire rival ISP iiNet after an independent party found the $1.56 billion offer to be "fair, reasonable and in the best interests of shareholders".

iiNet's board told investors on Friday that Lonergan Edwards & Associates had found the deal to be in the best interests of iiNet shareholders "in the absence of a superior proposal". 

It is a further signal that the merger of iiNet and TPG - which would create Australia's second largest broadband provider behind Telstra - will go ahead after TPG outbid M2 Group and its $1.57 billion share-based offier.

M2's offer was rejected by iiNet's board.

"iiNet's directors continue to unanimously recommend that all shareholders vote in favour of the scheme, in the absence of a superior proposal and subject to the independent expert maintaining its conclusion that the scheme is in the best interests of iiNet shareholders," the board said late Friday.

iiNet shareholders will vote on TPG's offer on July 27, and the scheme document will be released today.

The ACCC is currently investigating whether the merger will negatively affect the industry and customers after flagging initial concerns services and competition in the sector will suffer.

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