Apollo raises offer for Great Canadian Gaming, winning over key shareholders

New York-based hedge fund Apollo Global Management has won over key investors in its bid to take Great Canadian Gaming Corp. private, after raising its offer to $45 per share.

The new price represents a 15.4 per cent increase over its previous offer of $39 per share, enough to win support from major shareholders like Toronto-based hedge fund BloombergSen, which had threatened to oppose the deal.

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"The increased purchase price of $45 per share unlocks greater value for shareholders, and the company and board appreciate the support of some of Great Canadian's largest institutional shareholders for this transaction," Peter Meredith, chairman of Great Canadian's board of directors, said in a statement Monday.

The latest offer from Apollo prices Great Canadian's shares at where they were trading in February, before the pandemic forced restrictions on the company's 26 gaming, entertainment and hospitality properties across Canada.

The vast majority of its properties are now closed due to government measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Great Canadian shares were trading at around $43.50 Monday morning on the Toronto Stock Exchange, up nearly 17 per cent from their Friday closing price of $37.24.

Great Canadian's shareholders will vote on the deal at a meeting on Dec. 23. Great Canadian says shareholders holding about 50 per cent of its outstanding shares have entered into voting support agreements and committed to vote in favour of the deal at the new price.

Great Canadian had faced vocal opposition from some major shareholders, including BloombergSen, CI Global Asset Management and Burgundy Asset Management Ltd. However, those firms, as well as others, have agreed to support the new offer.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 21, 2020.

Companies in this story: (TSX:GC)

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