China Vanke Co., the mainland's largest property developer by sales, said Friday it will acquire a unit of Shenzhen Metro Group for 45.6 billion yuan ($6.9 billion) via a new share issue, in a possible attempt to ward off a potential hostile takeover.
After a preliminary accord in March where the deal was projected to be worth up to 60 billion yuan ($9.3 billion), the final purchase price came at the lower end of the projected spectrum, i.e., 40 billion yuan to 60 billion yuan.
The deal will make the state-owned subway operator Vanke’s largest shareholder with a 20.65 percent stake of the enlarged share capital. The long-anticipated deal would knock Shenzhen-based financial conglomerate Baoneng Group, which holds a 19.27 percent stake, from the position of Vanke’s biggest shareholder. The two have been in a constant tussle over the control of the company, with Baoneng rumored to launch a takeover attempt for Vanke.
Under the deal, Vanke said it would acquire SZMC Qianhai International Development Co., a unit of Shenzhen Metro Group that will give the developer access to premium properties atop transportation facilities in prime locations in the southern Chinese city. In exchange of this unit, Vanke will issue Shenzhen Metro Group close to 2.9 billion A shares at 15.88 yuan each, representing a 35 percent discount to its last trading price of 24.43 yuan on Dec. 18, reports said.
“Provision of integrated services surrounding metro facilities will become the most important development direction of Vanke,” Zhu Xu, the company secretary to the board, reportedly said.
“The cooperation with [Shenzhen Metro Group] not only enables Vanke to find the best foothold for its new business, but also provides assurance for the rapid development of Vanke’s new business,” he added.
The deal, however, did not have unanimous support from Vanke's board with three "no" votes out of 10 total board seats.
Vanke’s shares on the Shenzhen bourse have been suspended since Dec. 18. Its shares in Hong Kong closed up 3.4 percent on Friday. However, the company said the Shenzhen-listed shares would resume trading Monday, and analysts expect a sharp price drop after the six-month hiatus, the Wall Street Journal reported.