TIDMEQN

RNS Number : 0089V

Equiniti Group PLC

08 December 2021

NOT FOR RELEASE, PUBLICATION OR DISTRIBUTION, IN WHOLE OR IN PART, IN, INTO OR FROM ANY JURISDICTION WHERE TO DO SO WOULD CONSTITUTE A VIOLATION OF THE RELEVANT LAWS OF THAT JURISDICTION

THIS ANNOUNCEMENT CONTAINS INSIDE INFORMATION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

8 December 2021

Recommended Cash Acquisition

of

Equiniti Group plc ("EQ")

by

Earth Private Holdings Ltd ("Bidco")

(a newly-formed company owned by funds managed or advised by Siris Capital Group, LLC ("Siris"))

Scheme sanctioned by the Court

EQ and Bidco are pleased to announce that the Court has today sanctioned the scheme of arrangement under Part 26 of the Companies Act 2006 (the "Scheme") by which the recommended cash offer by Bidco for the entire issued and to be issued ordinary share capital of EQ (the "Acquisition") is being implemented.

The Scheme will become effective upon the Scheme Court Order being delivered to the Registrar of Companies, which is expected to take place after 6.30 p.m. on 9 December 2021.

Next steps

EQ confirms that the Scheme Record Time is 6.30 p.m. (London time) on the Effective Date, which shall be the last day of dealings in, and registration of transfers of, and disablement of CREST for, the EQ Shares (other than the registration of the transfer of the EQ Shares to Bidco pursuant to the Scheme on the London Stock Exchange (the "LSE").

A request has been made for the suspension of the listing of EQ Shares on the premium segment of the Official List and the admission to trading of EQ Shares on the LSE's Main Market with effect from 7.30 a.m. on 10 December 2021.

It is expected that, subject to the Scheme becoming effective on 9 December 2021, trading in EQ Shares on the LSE's Main Market for listed securities and the listing of the EQ Shares on the Official List of the FCA will be cancelled, by 8.00 a.m. on 13 December 2021.

Settlement of the consideration to which any Scheme Shareholder is entitled will be effected by way of electronic payment to bank accounts as provided by a mandate from the Shareholder for the payment of dividends, or through despatch of cheques, as soon as reasonably practicable and in any event not later than 23 December 2021.

A further announcement will be made in due course when the Scheme has become Effective. If any of the expected times and/or dates set out in the published timetable change, the revised times and/or dates will be notified to EQ Shareholders by announcement through a Regulatory Information Service. Such announcement will be made available (subject to certain restrictions relating to persons in Restricted Jurisdictions) on EQ's website at https://investors.equiniti.com/investors and on Bidco's website at https://siris.com/equintidocuments.

Other

Capitalised terms used but not defined in this announcement have the meanings set out in the scheme document dated 21 June 2021. References to time in this announcement are to London times.

Further information

Enquiries:

 
 Abernathy Macgregor (media adviser to Bidco 
  and Siris) 
 Dana Gorman                                       +1 212 371 5999 
 Blair Hennessy 
 Greenhill (lead financial adviser to Bidco and 
  Siris) 
 David Wyles                                       +44 20 7198 7400 
 James Babski 
 Dean Rodrigues 
 Goldman Sachs International (joint financial 
  adviser to Bidco and Siris) 
 Chris Emmerson                                    +44 20 7774 1000 
 Ben Maiden 
 Equiniti 
 Paul Lynam                                        +44 207 469 1902 
 Andrew Peeler 
 Tulchan Communications LLP (media adviser to 
  EQ) 
 Martin Robinson                                   +44 20 7353 4200 
 Olivia Peters 
 Rothschild & Co (lead financial adviser to EQ) 
 John Deans                                        +44 20 7280 5000 
 Neil Thwaites 
 Alexander Mitteregger 
 Citi (joint financial adviser and corporate 
  broker to EQ) 
 Alex de Souza                                     +44 20 7986 4000 
 Luke Spells 
 Christopher Wren 
 Barclays (corporate broker to EQ) 
 Andrew Tusa 
  Stuart Jempson                                   +44 20 7623 2323 
 

Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and Macfarlanes LLP are retained as (respectively) US and UK legal advisers to Siris and Bidco. Linklaters LLP is retained as legal adviser to EQ.

Important Notices

N.M. Rothschild & Sons Limited ("Rothschild & Co"), which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority ("FCA") in the UK, is acting exclusively for EQ and for no one else in connection with the matters set out in this announcement and will not regard any other person as its client in relation to the matters referred to in this announcement and will not be responsible to anyone other than EQ for providing the protections afforded to its clients in relation to the Acquisition or any other matter or arrangement referred to in this announcement.

Citigroup Global Markets Limited ("Citi"), which is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority ("PRA") and regulated in the UK by the FCA and the PRA, is acting as financial adviser for EQ and for no one else in connection with the Acquisition and will not be responsible to anyone other than EQ for providing the protections afforded to clients of Citi nor for providing advice in connection with the Acquisition, or any other matters referred to in this announcement. Neither Citi nor any of its affiliates, directors or employees owes or accepts any duty, liability or responsibility whatsoever (whether direct or indirect, consequential, whether in contract, in tort, in delict, under statute or otherwise) to any person who is not a client of Citi in connection with this announcement, any statement contained herein, the Acquisition or otherwise.

Barclays Bank PLC, acting through its Investment Bank ("Barclays"), which is authorised by the PRA and regulated in the UK by the FCA and the PRA, is acting exclusively for EQ and no one else in connection with the Acquisition and will not be responsible to anyone other than EQ for providing the protections afforded to clients of Barclays nor for providing advice in relation to the Acquisition or any other matter referred to in this announcement.

Greenhill & Co. International LLP ("Greenhill"), which is authorised and regulated by the FCA in the UK, is acting exclusively for Bidco and Siris and for no one else in connection with the matters set out in this announcement and will not be responsible to anyone other than Bidco and Siris for providing the protections afforded to clients of Greenhill, nor for providing advice in relation to the matters set out in this announcement.

Goldman Sachs International ("Goldman Sachs"), which is authorised by the PRA and regulated by the FCA and the PRA in the UK, is acting exclusively for Bidco and Siris and for no one else in connection with the matters referred to in this announcement and will not be responsible to anyone other than Bidco and Siris for providing the protections afforded to clients of Goldman Sachs International, or for providing advice in relation to the matters referred to in this announcement.

This announcement is for information purposes only, and is not intended to, and does not, constitute or form part of, any offer or inducement to sell or an invitation or the solicitation of an offer to purchase, otherwise acquire, subscribe for, sell or otherwise dispose of any securities, or the solicitation of any vote or approval in any jurisdiction, pursuant to the Acquisition or otherwise, nor shall there be any sale, issuance or transfer of securities of EQ in any jurisdiction in contravention of applicable law. Any offer, if made, will be made solely by certain offer documentation which will contain the full terms and conditions of any offer, including details of how it may be accepted.

This announcement does not constitute a prospectus or prospectus exempted document.

Overseas jurisdictions

The release, publication or distribution of this announcement in certain jurisdictions may be restricted by law and the availability of the Acquisition to EQ Shareholders who are not resident in the UK may be affected by the laws of the relevant jurisdictions in which they are resident. Persons who are not resident in the UK or who are subject to other jurisdictions should inform themselves of, and observe, any applicable requirements.

Unless otherwise determined by Bidco or required by the Code, and permitted by applicable law and regulation, the Acquisition will not be made available, directly or indirectly, in, into or from a Restricted Jurisdiction where to do so would violate the laws in that jurisdiction and no person may vote in favour of the Scheme by any such means from within a Restricted Jurisdiction or any other jurisdiction if to do so would constitute a violation of the laws of that jurisdiction. Accordingly, copies of this announcement and all documents relating to the Acquisition are not being, and must not be, directly or indirectly, mailed or otherwise forwarded, distributed or sent in, into or from a Restricted Jurisdiction where to do so would violate the laws in that jurisdiction, and persons receiving this announcement and all documents relating to the Acquisition (including custodians, nominees and trustees) must not mail or otherwise distribute or send them in, into or from such jurisdictions where to do so would violate the laws in that jurisdiction.

Notice to EQ Shareholders in the US

In the event that the Acquisition is implemented by way of a Takeover Offer and extended into the US, Bidco will do so in satisfaction of the procedural and filing requirements of the US securities laws at that time, to the extent applicable thereto. The Acquisition relates to the shares of an English company and it is proposed to be made by means of a scheme of arrangement provided for under English law. The Scheme will relate to the shares of an English company that is a "foreign private issuer" as defined under Rule 3b-4 under the US Exchange Act. A transaction effected by means of a scheme of arrangement is not subject to the shareholder vote, proxy solicitation and tender offer rules under the US Exchange Act. Accordingly, the Scheme is subject to the disclosure requirements, rules and practices applicable in the UK to schemes of arrangement, which differ from the disclosure requirements and practices of US shareholder vote, proxy solicitation and tender offer rules.

Financial statements, and all financial information included in the relevant documentation, will have been prepared in accordance with accounting standards applicable in the UK and may not be comparable to the financial statements of US companies or other companies whose financial statements are prepared in accordance with US generally accepted accounting principles. However, if Bidco were to elect to implement the Acquisition by means of a Takeover Offer, such Takeover Offer shall be made in compliance with applicable UK and US securities laws and regulations, including the US tender offer rules. Such Takeover Offer would be made in the US by Bidco and no one else. In addition to any such Takeover Offer, Bidco, certain affiliated companies and the nominees or brokers (acting as agents) may make certain purchases of, or arrangements to purchase, shares in EQ outside such Takeover Offer during the period in which such Takeover Offer would remain open for acceptance. These purchases may occur either in the open market at prevailing prices or in private transactions at negotiated prices. Any information about such purchases or arrangements to purchase shall be disclosed as required in the UK, shall be reported to a Regulatory Information Service and shall be available on the London Stock Exchange website at www.londonstockexchange.com. If such purchases or arrangements to purchase are made they would be made outside the US in compliance with applicable law, including the US Exchange Act.

The receipt of consideration by a US holder for the transfer of its EQ Shares pursuant to the Scheme may have tax consequences in the US and such consequences, if any, are not described herein. Each EQ Shareholder is urged to consult their independent professional adviser immediately regarding the tax consequences of the Acquisition applicable to them, including under applicable US state and local, as well as overseas and other, tax laws.

EQ and Bidco are both incorporated under the laws of England and Wales. Some or all of the officers and directors of EQ are residents of countries other than the US. In addition, some of the assets of Bidco and EQ are located outside the US. As a result, it may be difficult for US holders of EQ Shares to enforce their rights and any claim arising out of the US federal laws or to enforce against them a judgment of a US court predicated upon the securities laws of the UK. US holders of EQ Shares may not be able to sue a non-US company or its officers or directors in a non-US court for violations of the US securities laws. Further, it may be difficult to compel a non-US company and its affiliates to subject themselves to a US court's judgement.

Forward looking statements

This announcement (including information incorporated by reference in this announcement) may contain certain "forward-looking statements" with respect to Bidco or EQ. These forward-looking statements can be identified by the fact that they do not relate only to historical or current facts. Forward-looking statements often, but do not always, use words such as "anticipate", "target", "expect", "estimate", "intend", "plan", "goal", "believe", "will", "may", "should", "would", "could" or other words or terms of similar meaning or the negative thereof. Forward-looking statements include statements relating to the following: (i) future capital expenditures, expenses, revenues, earnings, synergies, economic performance, indebtedness, financial condition, dividend policy, losses and future prospects; (ii) business and management strategies and the expansion and growth of Bidco's, EQ's, any member of the Bidco Group's or any member of the EQ Group's operations and potential synergies resulting from the Acquisition; and (iii) the effects of global economic conditions and government regulation on Bidco's, EQ's, any member of the Bidco Group's or any member of the EQ Group's business. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause actual results, performance or developments to differ materially from those expressed in or implied by such forward-looking statements.

Such forward looking statements are not guarantees of future performance. By their nature, because they relate to events and depend on circumstances that will occur in the future, these forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties that could significantly affect expected results and are based on certain key assumptions and other factors which may cause actual results, performance or developments to differ materially from those expressed in or implied by such forward-looking statements.

These factors include, but are not limited to, the satisfaction of the conditions to the Acquisition, as well as additional factors, such as changes in political and economic conditions, changes in the level of capital investment, retention of key employees, changes in customer habits, success of business and operating initiatives and restructuring objectives, impact of any acquisitions or similar transactions, changes in customers' strategies and stability, competitive product and pricing measures, changes in the regulatory environment, fluctuations of interest and/or exchange rates and the outcome of any litigation.

These forward-looking statements are based on numerous assumptions regarding present and future strategies and environments. You are cautioned not to place any reliance on such forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. All subsequent oral or written forward-looking statements attributable to Siris, Bidco or EQ or any person acting on their behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by the cautionary statement above. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialise, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those described in this announcement.

None of Siris, Bidco, EQ, or any of their respective associates or directors, officers or advisers, provides any representation, assurance or guarantee that the occurrence of the events expressed or implied in any forward-looking statements in this announcement will actually occur.

Siris, Bidco and EQ assume no obligation to update publicly or revise forward-looking or other statements contained in this announcement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except to the extent legally required.

Disclosure requirements of the Code

Under Rule 8.3(a) of the Code, any person who is interested in 1% or more of any class of relevant securities of an offeree company or of any securities exchange offeror (being any offeror other than an offeror in respect of which it has been announced that its offer is, or is likely to be, solely in cash) must make an Opening Position Disclosure following the commencement of the offer period and, if later, following the announcement in which any securities exchange offeror is first identified. An Opening Position Disclosure must contain details of the person's interests and short positions in, and rights to subscribe for, any relevant securities of each of (i) the offeree company and (ii) any securities exchange offeror(s). An Opening Position Disclosure by a person to whom Rule 8.3(a) applies must be made by no later than 3.30 pm (London time) on the 10th business day following the commencement of the offer period and, if appropriate, by no later than 3.30 pm (London time) on the 10th business day following the announcement in which any securities exchange offeror is first identified. Relevant persons who deal in the relevant securities of the offeree company or of a securities exchange offeror prior to the deadline for making an Opening Position Disclosure must instead make a Dealing Disclosure.

Under Rule 8.3(b) of the Code, any person who is, or becomes, interested in 1% or more of any class of relevant securities of the offeree company or of any securities exchange offeror must make a Dealing Disclosure if the person deals in any relevant securities of the offeree company or of any securities exchange offeror. A Dealing Disclosure must contain details of the dealing concerned and of the person's interests and short positions in, and rights to subscribe for, any relevant securities of each of (i) the offeree company and (ii) any securities exchange offeror(s), save to the extent that these details have previously been disclosed under Rule 8. A Dealing Disclosure by a person to whom Rule 8.3(b) applies must be made by no later than 3.30 pm (London time) on the business day following the date of the relevant dealing.

If two or more persons act together pursuant to an agreement or understanding, whether formal or informal, to acquire or control an interest in relevant securities of an offeree company or a securities exchange offeror, they will be deemed to be a single person for the purpose of Rule 8.3.

Opening Position Disclosures must also be made by the offeree company and by any offeror and Dealing Disclosures must also be made by the offeree company, by any offeror and by any persons acting in concert with any of them (see Rules 8.1, 8.2 and 8.4).

Details of the offeree and offeror companies in respect of whose relevant securities Opening Position Disclosures and Dealing Disclosures must be made can be found in the Disclosure Table on the Takeover Panel's website at http://www.thetakeoverpanel.org.uk , including details of the number of relevant securities in issue, when the offer period commenced and when any offeror was first identified. You should contact the Panel's Market Surveillance Unit on +44 (0)20 7638 0129 if you are in any doubt as to whether you are required to make an Opening Position Disclosure or a Dealing Disclosure.

Publication on Website

In accordance with Rule 26.1 of the Code, a copy of this announcement will be made available on EQ's and Bidco's websites at https://investors.equiniti.com/investors and https://siris.com/equintidocuments respectively by no later than 12 noon (London time) on the Business Day following the publication of this announcement. For the avoidance of doubt, the contents of these websites are not incorporated into and do not form part of this announcement.

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END

OUPUPGAUPUPGGWR

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 08, 2021 08:07 ET (13:07 GMT)

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