Australia's MYOB says key shareholder gives in to KKR buyout offer

(Reuters) - Australian accounting software maker MYOB Group Ltd on Wednesday said its second-biggest shareholder has agreed, with reservations, to vote in favor of U.S. private-equity firm KKR & Co Inc’s A$1.6 billion ($1.14 billion) takeover bid.

Manikay Partners, which Refinitiv data showed owns 16 percent of MYOB, said in a letter to the company it was disappointed with the software maker’s continued recommendation of KKR’s marked-down A$3.40 per share bid in the face of improving market conditions.

The U.S. hedge fund, which data showed had bought shares as recently as last month, had been gunning for a price increase by KKR.

KKR in October initially offered A$3.70 per MYOB share but later raised the price to A$3.77, prompting the software firm to grant KKR access to its financial records to conduct due diligence. KKR then dropped its offer to the current price in December.

A spokesperson for KKR declined to comment on Wednesday.

In its letter, disclosed in a MYOB statement, Manikay Partners said it felt it would be “better served” allocating its capital elsewhere.

MYOB shareholders will vote whether to accept KKR’s offer on April 17.

Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in BENGALURU; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Christopher Cushing