UPDATE 1-Australia’s Vocus agrees to $2.7 bln buyout from Macquarie-led consortium

(Adds background on the deal, New Zealand IPO and chairman statement)

March 9 (Reuters) – Australia’s Vocus Group said on Tuesday it had agreed to a A$3.5 billion ($2.68 billion) takeover offer from a consortium of a Macquarie fund and pension fund Aware Super, sending its shares to a more than four-year high.

Last month, Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets Holding (MIRA) and Aware Super had agreed to team up for a A$5.50 per share non-binding offer for the Melbourne-based fibre network owner.

The buyout offer from the Macquarie-led consortium, one of at least three approaches since 2019, is the highest from any recent suitor.

Power supplier AGL Energy and Swedish private equity firm EQT Infrastructure dropped similar proposals after brief due diligence periods.

“The Vocus Board is unanimous in our view that this offer is in the best interests of Vocus shareholders,” Vocus Chairman Bob Mansfield said in a statement.

Shares of Vocus jumped as much as 9% to A$5.450, hitting their highest level since late November 2016.

The company said it no longer intends to pursue an initial public offering of its New Zealand arm, even though it had received strong interest from investors. ($1 = 1.3063 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni and Subhranshu Sahu)

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