Charter Hall, Abacus launch takeover bid for Australian office fund

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Australian-listed property groups Charter Hall and Abacus Property have made a joint takeover offer for the Australian Unity Office Fund after acquiring a 19.9% stake in the fund last week.

AOF owns a portfolio of nine offices across metropolitan and CBD markets in Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra, worth a combined $635.6m, as of June 2018.

Charter Hall and Abacus bought its initial stake in AOF for A$95.6m, representing A$2.95 per share, according to announcements.

The two buyers then established a special purpose entity for the takeover bid, with Charter Hall and Abacus owning 50% shares each.

The consortium has offered to pay $2.95 per unit to shareholders, reflecting a 6.1% premium to the fund’s closing price the day before the offer was made.

The portfolio has about 105 tenants, reflecting an overall occupancy rate of 95% and a weighted average lease expiry of 4.1 years.

The assets include 10 Valentine Ave in Parramatta, 468 St Kilda Road in Melbourne, 150 Charlotte Street in Brisbane’s CBD and 30 Pirie Street in Adelaide’s CBD.

Abacus Property owns A$2.1bn of assets under management, comprising $1.5bn of office, retail and industrial real estate, as well as at $666m of self-storage assets.

Charter Hall is an Australian-listed property fund manager, with A$28.4bn of assets under management.