New Zealand's Metlifecare agrees to $994 million buyout, says market regulator

(Reuters) - Metlifecare Ltd MET.NZ has agreed to be acquired in a deal that values the retirement village operator at NZ$1.49 billion ($994.28 million), New Zealand stock exchange's regulator said on Friday.

NZX Regulation (NZXR) said the company was offered NZ$7 for each share held, without disclosing details about the prospective buyer, except that it had completed due diligence and the final approval process was due between Dec. 28 and 29.

The offer price represented a premium of 9.7% to Metlifecare shares’ closing price of NZ$6.38 on Dec. 20, before its stock was placed on a trading halt.

Metlifecare said last week a takeover offer of NZ$6.50 per share from a “credible third party” had valued it below the board’s expectations and that it was “unlikely” the required majority of shareholders would support the offer.

The company had also said two other interested parties had also shown interest at that point, adding that discussions with them had not progressed as much as with the earlier suitor.

In NZXR’s Friday announcement, it did not specify whether the buyer offering NZ$7 per share was the one Metlifecare had been negotiating with.

The regulator said the trading halt would remain in place until an announcement in relation to the transaction or Dec. 30, 2019, whichever was earlier.

Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli