Heriot bid for Safari hits a wall of resistance
CAPE TOWN – Heriot REIT had made a hostile bid for Safari Investments RSA, a listed REIT with a R3.2 billion portfolio of peri-urban properties, but Safari has questioned Heriot’s claimed shareholder support base.
Safari said on Monday that it had received a letter from Bridge Fund Managers, Heriot Investments, SA Corporate Real Estate, I Group, and Pine Pienaar, Francois Marias and Albie Cilliers, demanding the resignation of all Safari’s directors, other than the chief executive and financial director.
Safari said the letter had proposed Steven Herring, Heriot’s founder, as Safari’s new chairman, and Greg Heron, James Templeton, Pine Pienaar and Oratile Mosetlhi as Safari’s other directors.
Existing non-executives Tinus Slabber and Etienne Swanepoel were appointed to the Safari board towards the end of last year at the request of Bridge, Stanlib Asset Management and certain minority shareholders, who had been frustrated with developments relating to another unsolicited bid for Safari last year from Community Property Company, which failed to proceed.
Herring is also current non-independent non-executive chairman and major shareholder of Heriot. Heriot claimed the support of shareholders holding some 52.84 percent of Safari shares, excluding the shares of Southern Palace Capital, and 43.8 percent of such shares if Southern Palace Capital was included.
Safari said it had requested all the “concerned shareholders” to provide documents confirming their support for the Heriot bid.
“The company understands, from unsolicited communications received that certain concerned shareholders are in fact not or no longer in support of the proposal, and intend to withdraw support for the proposal. If so, this will reduce the level of support,” Safari said yesterday.
The “concerned shareholders” had claimed that the board of Safari was not optimally structured and that certain individuals on the board were not suitable to the role of acting in the interests of stakeholders, especially shareholders.
Meanwhile, Slabber and Swanepoel resigned with effect from Sunday, resignations which the board said it regretted. Safari said both Slabber and Swanepoel had expressed their willingness to again serve on the board, should a majority of shareholders elect them.