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Australia's Toll shareholders back A$6.49b Japan Post bid

Japan Post president Toru Takahashi (left) shakes hands with Australia's Toll Holdings chairman Ray Horsburgh to end a joint press conference in Sydney on Feb 18, 2015.

[SYDNEY] Australia's Toll Holdings shareholders on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly in support of a A$6.49 billion (S$6.9 billion) takeover bid by Japan Post, ahead of the global postal and logistics giant's expected IPO later this year.

State-owned behemoth Japan Post unexpectedly offered A$9.04 a share for Toll in February.

Some 95.88 per cent of Toll shareholders took part in the vote, with 99.72 per cent of them in favour of the offer, the company said in a statement.

The vote came after Australia's Foreign Investment Review Board gave a green light to the proposal in March, leaving just formal approval from Victoria state's Supreme Court before Toll stops trading on the Australian Securities Exchange.

The court hearing will take place on May 14, with the Melbourne-based transport logistics giant planning to delist on the same day. The deal will then go ahead on May 28.

Toll shares were up 0.22 per cent to A$9.02 in afternoon trade.

Under the proposal, Toll will be run as a division within Japan Post and retain the Toll name, with the company's chief executive Brian Kruger reporting to his Japan Post counterpart Toru Takahashi.

Toll has a global network spanning road, air, sea, and rail routes with significant operations in Asia, with Mr Takahashi saying in February that it was a perfect fit for Japan Post as it looks to expand its international footprint.

The Japanese government looks set to privatise Japan Post, with the global postal and logistics player confirming in December that it will list its shares in Tokyo this year.

The listing could be one of the world's biggest IPOs if it takes place.