CEE distribution giant ABC Data is facing doubts over whether its sale to Switzerland-based rival ALSO will even go ahead, due to shareholder tension over the deal.
CPI has learned that the deal has been racked with shareholder push-back over the terms of the deal and a lack of communication from the EU's anti-monopoly body over whether the sale is viable.
In an ABC Data shareholder's meeting on 6 February, minority shareholder PZU Pension Company voted against ALSO's takeover bid.
A source told CPI that PZU Pension Company was concerned that ALSO's share price bid was too low, and is frustrated that ALSO is not willing to buy the Warsaw-based distributor in its entirety.
ABC Data Czech Republic and ABC Data Finance are not part of the deal.
"It's obvious really. In last year's financial results for ABC Data Czech Republic, the figures were getting worse and also the company has some tax controls. They owed the tax office around PLN 5m last year. There is another tax control that is also quite risky," they explained.
PZU Pension Company, which holds 7.71 per cent of ABC Data shares, promptly sued ABC Data over its acceptance of ALSO's terms.
However, on 11 March, PZU withdrew its lawsuit, after ALSO raised its tender offer from PLN 1.30 to PLN 1.44 per share.
Nonetheless, ABC Data remains uncertain whether PZU, or indeed any of its shareholders, will go ahead with selling its shares to ALSO at the end of this month.
"We don't have any official statement from PZU about this," the source said.
"The tender offer will end on 17 April. A few days after that, we will know whether PZU sold their share and also how many ALSO bought from the market."
Another hurdle for the deal is approval from the EU on whether the sale meets its anti-monopoly regulations.
"We have to have the consent of the anti-monopoly EU office, and we don't have it yet. I think we may have to wait for a few weeks."
While ALSO's takeover bid of ABC Data remains uncertain, ALSO has not given ABC Data much in the way of detail about what the integration process will be, including whether ABC Data's brand will continue or what kind of restructuring may take place.
"We would love to know," they said.
"Once the transaction is done, then our management board can meet and discuss the process. Right now, it's difficult to discuss it and we shouldn't even because we are competitors at the moment."
In the last week, ABC Czech Republic has been sold separately to investment firm Investment Gear 2.
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