Picture: 123RF/MTAIRA
Picture: 123RF/MTAIRA

Property group Safari Investments, which has courted controversy over the past month because of its handling of a takeover offer from unlisted company ComProp, said on Thursday it had appointed another independent body to consider the proposed deal.

Safari already had appointed an extra independent board to consider the offer from Comprop. Now BDO Corporate Finance will analyse if Comprop’s cash offer for Safari will have negatives for shareholders.

Safari, which owns malls in small towns, Tshwane and Namibia, has been a takeover target in 2019, having received offers from listed mall owner Fairvest as well as ComProp.

The share swap offer with Fairvest, which valued Safari at R4.15 a share was discussed but then abandoned. But Safari’s board is yet to provide its shareholders with its opinion about the seemingly more attractive R1.8bn all-cash offer from ComProp. This has angered some listed property investors and analysts who have questioned why Safari has not been forthcoming with details about the ComProp deal.

Instead, Safari has said that it has letters from more than 25% of its shareholder base saying it would vote against ComProp’s offer. It has yet to publish these letters. The R1.8bn offer values Safari at R5.90 a share.

Safari appointed an independent board earlier in September, which it said would communicate with ComProp. It has now appointed BDO Corporate Finance to consider ComProp’s offer.

“By way of update, the Safari board and the independent board have appointed an independent professional expert, BDO Corporate Finance, to express an opinion, if ultimately required in terms of the Companies Act, on whether the ComProp proposal is fair and reasonable to shareholders, as contemplated in sections 114(2) and 114(3) of the Companies Act and regulations 90 and 110(1) of the regulations under the Companies Act,” it said.

Safari said on Tuesday that the independent board had concerns about ComProp’s offer but declined to comment on them publicly.

On Thursday, Safari said the independent board “continued to request constructive engagement with ComProp to reach an amicable resolution of the concerns”. 

Activist shareholder Chris Logan, the chief investment officer at Opportune Investments, said Safari’s responses to ComProp were insufficient.

“They contain a lot of legal mumbo jumbo but fail to deal with the glaring anomaly that the Safari board proposed the Fairvest friendly merger transaction at R4.15, but has failed to propose the ComProp far superior R5.90 bid received on July 22 2019.”