Australian media company and owners of Gold Coast theme parks Sea World, Warner Bros. Movie World and Wet'n'Wild Water World, Village Roadshow, have announced an unsolicited takeover proposal for Sydney-based tourism operator.
Village Roadshow have made a proposal to Sydney Attraction Group for an all-cash offer of $166 million for the tourism company which owns and operates a handful of major attractions in Sydney including the popular Sydney Aquarium and Wildlife World which opened a year ago.
Village Roadshow already owns a 20 per cent stake in the company, but now believes that the company is at a crossroads and is not performing as well as it could be. The offer is conditional on a minimum 50 per cent ownership.
Shareholders in Sydney Attractions Group have been urged by the Board of Directors to take no action at this stage. The Directors believe that the company is performing well and will continue to improve as last year's $52 million investment into Sydney Wildlife World ramps up.
Graham Burke, CEO of Village Roadshow, stated the Group “is at a critical point given the ongoing difficulties and heightened competitive pressures it faces. As theme park and attractions operators, we are more confident of being able to deliver the required result with direct control rather than as a passive investor.
“If Village Roadshow acquires Sydney Attractions Group, we will undertake a detailed review of SAG’s operations to identify initiatives to improve performance. We believe that some of these initiatives may be more challenging for SAG to implement itself, given its high gearing and therefore more constrained financial capacity to invest in the business.
The Chairman of Sydney Attractions Group, Mr Bill Wright said, “The Sydney Aquarium continues to perform strongly and Sydney Wildlife World, which only opened to the public in September 2006, is expected to be an equally strong performer once it fully ramps up.
“The Directors believe that the full value of Sydney Wildlife World will become increasingly apparent, and the future performance of this asset will be a key consideration for the Board.
Sydney Attractions Group directly manages and operates a portfolio of five tourism and leisure attractions in Sydney, including Sydney Aquarium, Sydney Tower and OzTrek, Manly Oceanworld, Shark Dive Xtreme and Wildlife World.
Village Roadshow owns and operates Gold Coast attractions Sea World, Warner Bros. Movie World, Wet'n'Wild Water World, Australian Outback Spectacular, Paradise Country and the Sea World Resort.
By Richard Wilson.
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