KCom dumps pension fund deal for higher bid

News

Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA) offered £563 million for the north-east England telco.


The board of North of England telecoms group, which owns KCom, unanimously voted to accept the new higher offer, reports the Financial Times [subscription needed].

Last month the company had accepted an offer of £504 million offer from the trustees of the Universities Superannuation Scheme.

KCom was originally known as Kingston Communications and belonged to the city of Hull, founded in 1904.

After privatisation, the company came close to bankruptcy when its expansion plans were unsuccessful.

Something rotten in Denmark?

MIRA is a division of the Australian company, Macquarie Group: in early May, Bloomberg reported that PFA, a Danish pension company, which oversees about $90 billion in assets, refused to enter into deals with Macquarie Group Ltd. amid a national campaign in Denmark to fight financial misconduct.

Late last year, ATP, Denmark’s biggest pension fund with about $120 billion in assets, deciding not to proceed with any more activities with Macquarie pending the outcome of investigations.

Macquarie is one of a number of banks being investigated by German authorities in connection with alleged dividend tax fraud, according to the report.

Last November, Danish Tax Minister Karsten Lauritzen said his country would investigate the Australian firm’s conduct.

The aversion to Macquarie has ended, at least for the time being, years of cooperation between Macquarie and Danish pension funds in some of their biggest infrastructure deals: earlier in 2018, ATP, PFA and Macquarie bought Danish phone company TDC.

Seeking financial probity

Denmark is particularly keen to ensure to enforce financial probity after its biggest financial group, Danske Bank, was embroiled in an Estonian money-laundering scheme.

Bloomberg said Denmark’s fraught relationship with Macquarie follows similar controversies in which voters have voiced anger at Wall Street giants buying stakes in public utilities.