Takeovers Panel begins investigation on Ainsworth share sale

The Australian  Takeovers Panel has opened an investigation into Len Ainsworth’s decision to sell the majority of his stake to Novomatic, local media reports.

On May 16, an application from Australian securities watchdog, ASIC was sent to The Pane, seeking to prevent Ainsworth’s wife, who is AGT’s second largest stakeholder, to use her stake to influence a shareholder vote on the deal. At the time, the application was to be reviewed be The Takeovers Panel, who will make a decision whether to open an investigation or not.

In February, Ainsworth announced that its founder and chairman, Len Ainsworth had entered into a sale and purchase agreement with Novomatic AG, subject to shareholder approval.

Ainsworth is aiming to sell his 53 per cent stake to Austria’s Novomatic in a transaction that could be worth A$473 million (US$354.5 million).

AGT chief financial officer, Mark Ludski however said he was uncertain if a decision would be made before Friday’s extraordinary general meeting.

“The timeframe for the Takeovers Panel is progressing,” Ludski said, quoted by Fairfax Media. “We still haven’t got an indication of when they will be able to provide their determination.”