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ARA founder John Lim leads consortium in S$1.8b buyout

ARA Asset Management Ltd group founder and chief executive officer John Lim is leading a consortium including Cheung Kong Property and Straits Trading Company in a takeover offer at S$1.78 per share, valuing the company at close to S$1.8 billion.

Joining them in taking the group private are private equity firm Warburg Pincus and China-based AVIC Trust Co.

The takeover is undertaken through a scheme of arrangement, with Cayman-incorporated vehicle Athena Investment Company as the offeror.

The offer price represents a 43.9 per cent premium over the 12-month volume-weighted average price, and exceeds the highest closing price of ARA shares over the past 2.5 years.

Mr Lim, Straits Trading and Cheung Kong Property collectively own 46.24 per cent of ARA as at Nov 8.

"By privatising the company together with affiliated entities of Warburg Pincus and AVIC Trust, the consortium believes that the company will be able to secure the long-term commitment of two new strategic capital partners," the consortium said on Tuesday.

The scheme also offers shareholders, who may find it difficult to exit ARA due to low historical trading liquidity, the opportunity to realise their investment at an attractive valuation, the consortium added.

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