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High-flyer no more: A diminished Vita accepts takeover offer


Vita Group’s board has backed a takeover via a scheme of arrangement with Practice Management which values the company at just $22 million.

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The company has been significantly reduced since Telstra bought back its business in which Vita ran retail outlets. It paid $110 million for the business which was essentially 100 Telstra stores, and Vita started a transition to skin health and wellness under the Artisan brand.

The total value of the deal – under which Vita would be allowed to pay a dividend of 6.4 cents a share – is 12.6 cents a share.

After the deal was announced, Vita shares jumped from 8 cents to 14 cents.

The company reported a loss for the December half of $16 million, but it had $15 million in cash.

The takeover has been backed by the Vita board, which includes founder Maxine Horne. At one point Horne was Australia’s richest female chief executive.

Horne founded the company in 1995 with one Fone Zone store.

In the most recent annual report, Horne held about 18 per cent of the company worth about $4 million.

Chair Paul Mirabelle said the board determined the scheme of arrangement was in the best interests of shareholders.

“In arriving at this conclusion, the board, including independent directors, considered multiple factors including a view on the intrinsic value of the Artisan business, keeping in mind the early stage of the business,” Mirabelle said.

“We believe the outcome is positive for shareholders and other stakeholders including our customers, employees, executives and suppliers in the current circumstances.”



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