NZ's Metlifecare backs EQT's $839 mln lower buyout offer

July 10 (Reuters) - Metlifecare Ltd said on Friday it has entered into a revised buyout deal with EQT AB , under which it will be bought by the Swedish private equity firm’s unit for a lower offer of NZ$1.28 billion ($838.91 million).

The revised deal with Asia Pacific Village Group Ltd, a unit of EQT, values the retirement village operator at NZ$6 per share, a NZ$1 per share lower than its offer made in December last year.

Metlifecare, which owns and operates a portfolio of 25 retirement villages primarily in New Zealand’s upper North Island, also agreed to end all legal disputes with EQT AB related to the merger deal.

EQT had, in April, notified Metlifecare of its intention to terminate the buyout offer, citing potential impact from the coronavirus pandemic on Metlifecare’s earnings in fiscal 2020.

In response, Metlifecare took legal action against EQT, stating that there was no lawful basis to terminate the agreement.

Metlifecare said in a statement on Friday that several shareholders indicated a preference towards the revised deal as the uncertainty over a prolonged litigation made the offer from EQT ‘reasonable’.

The company’s largest shareholder, NZ Super, which holds about 19.9% stake, agreed to vote in favour of the deal.

Metlifecare expects shareholders will be given the opportunity to vote on the scheme in late September this year.

$1 = 1.5258 New Zealand dollars Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber