Telus withdraws bid as it Appens

Fri 27 May 22, 10:06am (AEST)

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Key Points

  • Canadian suitor Telus has withdrawn yesterday’s bid of $9.50 a share
  • Shaw & Partners’ attributes the bid withdrawal to a material market de-rate over the past six months, particularly in the technology sector
  • Appen is expected to close today considerably lower

Today at the open investors will get a masterclass in how fast a stock can fall from hero to zero, with Appen likely to give up much of yesterday’s gains following the news this morning that Canadian suitor Telus has withdrawn yesterday’s bid of $9.50 a share.

Given that shares in the midcap artificial intelligence data services company were trading at $6.40 prior to yesterday’s short-lived big offer, the fall from yesterday’s close of $8.27 may appear a little brutal.

Within a note to the market this morning, Appen advised that the Canadian IT services outfit was revoking its offer, without providing any rationale or explanation.

A confidentiality and standstill agreement with Telus had not been signed.

What went wrong

After commenting on the robustness of its M&A pipeline, Telus explained why the company chose to revoke its offer only nine hours after the potential deal became public.

“At any given point in time, our company is in various stages of due diligence with potential targets.. in this particular case, we did look at Appen, and after an initial evaluation made the decision to walk away from our non-binding offer.”

Speculation flies

Speculation about the real reason for the Telus exit are starting to surface, with Shaw & Partners’ attributing it to a “material market de-rate over the past six months, particularly in the technology sector".

In short, the broker suspects this means “the higher historical transaction multiple levels are not appropriate in the current environment”.

Alternative suggestions attribute the exit by Telus to the nature of Appen’s weak and unpromising trading update yesterday in which the company noted “1H FY22 EBITDA to be materially lower than the prior corresponding period.”

Watch this space closely today.

Written By

Mark Story


Mark is an investigative financial journalist and editor who started his career working for Marathon Oil in London. He has a degree in politics/economics and a diploma in journalism. Mark has worked on 70-plus newspapers and financial publications across Australia, NZ, the US, and Asia including: The Australian Financial Review, Money Magazine, Australian Property Investor and Finance Asia. Mark is passionate about improving the financial literacy of all Australians through the highest quality content. Email Mark at [email protected].

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