A second takeover bidder has emerged for Vocus

Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images

A second private equity firm, Affinity Equity Partners, has made a takeover bid for fourth tier Australian telco Vocus.

The bid at $3.50 a share, which came last night after the market closed, is similar to that made in June by US-based KKR and values the company at $2.18 billion.

Vocus shares last traded at $3.45.

The board of Vocus decided to also grant the Asia-based Affinity the opportunity to conduct due diligence.

“The board of Vocus now considers that the interests of shareholders will be best served by a formal process to thoroughly evaluate whether a change of control offer, at a price and on terms that the board would recommend, can be secured,” the company said in a statement.

“In order to ensure that the process operates as effectively as possible, the board does not intend to make any further announcements unless and until a recommended offer is secured, or unless there is a development which it considers requires disclosure.”

The telco’s board has appointed Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs as its financial advisors and Allens as legal adviser.

Vocus, whose brands include Dodo and iPrimus, has been growing via a series of acquisitions, including M2 and Nextgen.

However, last month Vocus downgraded its revenue and profit forecasts.

Underlying EBITDA is now expected to be between $365 and $375 million compared to guidance of $430 to $450 million. And underlying net profit after tax is now expected to be in the range of $160 million to $165 million compared to guidance of $205 million to $215 million.

In February, Vocus posted a net profit after tax of $47.2 million from revenue of $888.2 million.