Shareholder group lashes out at Village Roadshow deal
Dissident US shareholder Mittleman Brothers has lashed out at an imminent deal to sell famed cinema and theme-park company Village Roadshow to private equity group BGH Capital in a controversial $468.5 million takeover.
The investment house, which has a stake of about 8.5%, could scuttle the transaction, which has been reworked in the wake of the coronavirus crisis that hit Village‘s operations, almost halving the proposed price.
The US investment house said Village shareholders should reap the benefits of a recovery, rather than them being captured by the high-profile private equity group run by Ben Gray, Simon Harle and Robin Bishop.
The suitor has been active during the market turmoil, making an unsuccessful play for Virgin Australia and picking up the Healius medical centre portfolio for $500m. But Village could be tougher, as independent shareholders, who account for about 60% of the register, will vote on the deal under two separate schemes proposed by BGH.
Mittleman Brothers chief investment officer Christopher Mittleman said his position had not changed since he dubbed the bid blatantly opportunistic and unfairly discriminatory against minority shareholders two months ago.
“COVID-19 will eventually transition from the headlines to the history books. Presuming so, the businesses owned by Village should likely return to their pre-COVID, pre-Dreamworld,” he said. “Having suffered through the double downturns (Dreamworld, then COVID-19), I think minority investors have every right to participate in the rebound, fully, and not have our share of the upside forcibly divvied up between a private equity firm and the controlling shareholders.”