From API to Afterpay: Why these shares grabbed the headlines today

Highlights

  • API shares jumped 18% on a takeover bid from Woolworths Group.
  • Macquarie Group’s shares rose after it appointed a new chairman.
  • Afterpay dropped more than 6% after it deferred a shareholder vote on its acquisition by Square.

Australian shares extended loss for the second day on Thursday as concerns about the long-term impact of the Omicron variant dented market sentiment. Looming fear about the rate hike and rising inflation also triggered a sell-off in the market. The ASX 200 index declined as much as 0.9% by afternoon trade, led by Orocobre (ASX: ORE), Netwealth (ASX:NWL), Afterpay (ASX:APT), Pro Medicus (ASX:PME), and Pendal Group (ASX: PDL).

Individual stocks that dominated trade on the ASX include Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (API), Macquarie Group, Afterpay, Crown Resorts, and Charter Hall Long WALE. Here’s why these shares created a buzz today:

Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (API)

Shares of health and beauty company Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (ASX: API) rallied 18% to hit an intraday high of AU$1.765 after it received a takeover offer from Woolworths Group (ASX:WOW). Following the announcement, WOW’s share price gained as much as 0.4% to trade at AU$39.99 apiece.

Woolworths, one of Australia’s leading retailers, has proposed to acquire a 100% stake in API for AU$1.75 apiece, outbidding rival Wesfarmers (ASX:WES). The deal values API’s equity at AU$872 million, 12.9% more than the offer proposed by Wesfarmers last month.

Meanwhile, the board of API is of the view that the Woolworths group’s proposal is reasonably likely to be a superior proposal.

API, the parent company of Priceline Pharmacy and Soul Pattinson Chemist, provides a range of retail services to its community pharmacy partners.

Macquarie Group

Macquarie Group (ASX: MQG) share price climbed 1.7% to AU$199.01 after the company announced the appointment of a new chairman. The country’s biggest asset manager has appointed former Reserve Bank of Australia governor Glenn Stevens as the new chairman.

The company said Stevens would replace Peter Warne, who will retire by the 2022 Annual General Meeting (AGM). Warne has been Chair of Macquarie Group and Macquarie Bank boards since April 2016 and a director of both entities since 2007.

Stevens’ appointment and Warne’s retirement as a Voting Director on both boards will be effective in early May 2022, following the 2022 full-year results announcement, the company said.

Afterpay

Shares of Afterpay (ASX: APT) dropped as much as 6.3% to AU$99.8 apiece during the day’s trade so far.  The stock price tumbled after the buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) major delayed a shareholder vote on its acquisition by Square.

The fintech company informed its shareholders this morning that it had decided to defer a shareholder meeting to vote on its acquisition by Square Inc, following a delay in approval from the Bank of Spain. The meeting, which was scheduled for 6 December 2021, will be delayed until the new year.

The statutory deadline for Square’s application for the Bank of Spain’s approval is currently 21 February 2022. Meanwhile, Square expects to meet the Bank of Spain’s condition by mid-January 2022.

Crown Resorts

Shares of Australia's largest gaming and entertainment group Crown Resorts (ASX: CWN) rose 1.6% to hit the day’s high of AU$10.82 after it again rejected an acquisition proposal from US-based private equity firm, Blackstone.

The casino operators’ board is of the view that the AU$8.5-billion takeover bid of AU$12.5 a share does not represent compelling value for Crown shareholders. The company, however, has opened its books to Blackstone to undertake due diligence so it could formulate a revised proposal. 

Charter Hall Long WALE

Shares of Charter Hall Long WALE (ASX: CLW) dropped as much as 0.8% to AU$4.81 after the Australian Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) received the shareholder nod for the ALE deal.

The company in an exchange filing said that it had received overwhelming support from ALE Property Group (ASX: ALE) for the proposed scheme of arrangement deal. At least 96.7% of the ALE shareholders cast their vote in favour of the deal.

In September this year, the Charter Hall Long WALE-led consortium proposed to acquire ALE Property Group via schemes of arrangement.

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