Time will tell if Bidvest can pip CFR bid for Adcock

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It’s difficult to see how CFR Pharmaceuticals’ offer for Adcock Ingram will survive Bidvest’s latest move. Given the tight time frame and the fact that the independent board of Adcock was backing the CFR offer, Bidvest did not have much room for manoeuvre. But in rather Houdini-like manner Brian Joffe has managed to wiggle out of that tight space and launch a possibly killer blow.

There are of course those who might be more inclined to describe it as guerrilla style, not Houdini style, tactics. And it would certainly be rash to declare the winner in this battle before the shareholders vote on December 18. If the Public Investment Corporation were to issue a statement in support of CFR then things would change quite dramatically.

But at this stage the challenge facing CFR does look daunting. It has to persuade 75 percent of the shareholders who are present and entitled to vote at the meeting to vote in favour of its deal.

For Bidvest to “win” all it has to do is ensure that 26 percent of those shareholders do not support the CFR transaction. It can do this by soaking up all those shares held by shareholders who don’t care too much either way but just want to get out as quickly as possible with as much cash as possible.

It might also help Bidvest to persuade other shareholders looking for a good long-term investment that with Bidvest onside, Adcock might be a better performer in the future. Presumably if CFR does bow out there’s nothing to stop Bidvest, at a later stage, from taking its stake up to 60 percent in line with its original plan.

But CFR has talked a very exciting story for Adcock’s future; one that would be great not only for Adcock shareholders but for all Adcock’s stakeholders and South Africa. It might still prevail.

E-tolls

Although the e-toll legislation is to be put into effect in Gauteng from today, an application by the Freedom Front Plus (FF+) and partners to stop e-tolling was not successful yesterday – as the judge ruled that it was not urgent enough.

Judge Mabel Jansen of the North Gauteng High Court did not deliver judgment on the constitutionality of the legislation but did rule that there was no harm that could not be corrected at a later date. The Toll Road Action Group had argued that the law was unconstitutional.

In a statement issued last night, the FF+ said. “We contended that the [legislation] and the implementation thereof is unconstitutional. This formed the basis of our application and was not contested in court.”

FF+ MP Anton Alberts said: “It means that an act which in our opinion is unconstitutional will be implemented within hours. Billions of rand are involved here and the impact on road users and the region’s economy will be enormous.

“How the court could in the light of this decide that the application isn’t urgent, is incomprehensible. We are expecting even stronger opposition from the public who will also have to pay for a system and an act to which they are unlawfully being subjected.

“We are at present busy considering the decision. The opportunity is still there to place the case on the ordinary roll where there will not be any question about urgency.’’

Pressed on why the urgent interdict had been brought so late, Alberts said he had exchanged letters with President Jacob Zuma’s office. No attempt had been made by the president’s office to react to questions about the legislation’s constitutionality.

So it will now be up to the motorists to decide whether they are paying up today.

Hotazel

President Jacob Zuma appeared oblivious to publication of details from an allegedly leaked preliminary report by public protector Thuli Mandonsela on Friday on the spending of more than R200 million on his Nkandla estate, as he launched a manganese mine and beneficiation plant in the Northern Cape.

The mine will boost the debilitated economy of the Northern Cape, and can be lauded for meeting the government’s ambitions for job creation.

Earlier on Friday, the Mail & Guardian published leaked reports that have exposed how Zuma had potentially lied in Parliament when he said that he and his family had paid for all features except for security in his rural homestead.

By 2.30pm when Zuma stood on the podium at Hotazel, where the mine was launched, the outrage of the public had spilled over to social media with some calling for his impeachment.

But at the launch of the R7 billion Kalagadi manganese plant, Zuma was in jovial spirits. Ahead of his speech he broke the ice by saying that he had no key or note to give, much to the amusement of the audience. Disappointingly, Zuma ignored the Nkandla furore in his address. Instead he largely noted the progress of the government’s infrastructure roll-out programme across the country.

Zuma also highlighted the 16 Days of Activism campaign against the abuse of women and children.

Meanwhile, the journalists who attended the event were treated as excess baggage following a three-hour delay.

Journalists were asked to meet at 5am at the Lanseria Airport by Black Magic, the public relations company that organised the event, only to leave at 9.20am. Black Magic was out of its depth, but apologised for the delay, blaming riots in Kuruman and flight restrictions by the Civil Aviation Authority for the travel nightmare.

Edited by Peter DeIonno, with contributions from Ann Crotty, Donwald Pressly and Dineo Faku.


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