LCD Global cancels rights issue paving way for 33-cents a share takeover bid to proceed

SINGAPORE - LCD Global Investments has announced that it will cancel a contentious rights issue that has been at the heart of a takeover battle between its two biggest groups of shareholders.

The announcement, which came after market close on Wednesday, means that AF Global - a joint venture of listed Aspial Corporation and Fragrance Group - will now proceed with its takeover offer priced at 33-cents a share.

Tensions have been simmering between the Aspial-Fragrance alliance and LCD Global's largest shareholder JTrust since the two sides began fighting for control over the mainboard-listed property and hospitality firms in October.

On Dec 5, LCD announced a rights issue to raise $105.4 million to be under-written by JTrust, a move that some shareholders saw as a "poison pill" strategy.

They believed the plan was designed to dilute shares and bar Aspial and Fragrance - which together hold 29.3 per cent shares in LCD Global behind JTrust's 29.5 per cent - from winning further control in LCD Global

In response, AF Global announced on Monday this week a conditional cash offer for all of LCD's shares, with a price of 33 cents per share if LCD Global agreed to call off or defer the rights issue by 6 p.m. on Jan 14, or 30 cents per share if the issue remains in place.

"In light of the offer being a significant intervening event and to allow the higher offer price of 33 cents per offer share to be made available to shareholders… the board has decided that it is in the best interests of the shareholders of the company to cancel the rights issue,'' LCD Global noted in its announcement Wednesday.

"The board will re-consider, taking into account the prevailing circumstances, fund-raising options (including carrying out a fresh rights issue) after the close or lapse of the offer."