CAPE TOWN – Community Property Holdings’ (Comprop) had launched an “unwarranted attack” on Safari, Safari independent board chairperson Allan Wentzel said on Thursday.
This was despite repeated attempts by Safari to engage with Comprop to address legal and commercial concerns of Comprop’s R1.8 billion cash bid to acquire Safari, which were not responded to, Wentzel said.
Comprop has made a cash offer to buy all of Safari's shares at R5.90 each, this after an initial share-for-share merger attempt between property group Fairvest and Safari, at R4.15 per share, was called off last month.
On Tuesday, Comprop in an update accused the Safari board of having a “negative” view of the offer, and of denying Safari shareholders the opportunity to vote on the offer.
In a strongly worded response to Comprop’s board yesterday, Wentzel said:
“While your letter is addressed to the independent board, it is clear that it’s real intention was not to invite meaningful discussion and engagement, but rather to serve as a platform for an unwarranted attack… to further your commercial position and aspirations,” Wentzel wrote.
“This action to avoid meaningful engagement and to foster public discord is an unfortunate development, given that Safari’s independent board has consistently sought to approach Comprop’s unsolicited offer in a measured and professional way.
“We will endeavour to continue to do so, notwithstanding the regrettable recent steps taken by Comprop,” Wentzel said.
Wentzel also countered Comprop’s claim that it had been “inappropriate” for the Safari Independent Board to have canvassed Safari’s shareholders, as to how they would vote on the Comprop offer, prior to appointing an independent expert to advise if the offer was fair and reasonable.
“First, as you are well aware, it was not Safari that canvassed the shareholders opposed to the Comprop proposal,” said Wentzel.
“These shareholder views were initially communicated to Safari as a result of shareholder engagement by Fairvest… as part of its assessment of the impact on the Fairvest transaction,” Wentzel wrote.
“When Safari relayed these shareholder views to you, the position adopted by Comprop was to question the integrity of this feedback and to insist that Safari obtain these views in writing. Your next tack was to assert that the written confirmations were not legally enforceable, and should thus be disregarded, which misses the point,” Wentzel said.
Wentzel said many of the opposing positions to the Comprop offer were “driven by a desire to retain long-term exposure to the assets and the related dividend streams”.