Takeover of Australian coal producer

The challenge:

Fowlstone acted for a leading Australian coal producer in a hostile takeover of an industry peer. The overarching objective was to gain early shareholder acceptance to generate a snowball effect around the bid and to garner early media support as an important source of third party endorsement.
With a series of referrals to the Takeovers Panel, the transaction came up against a number of challenges; this required continuous and compelling communication to shareholders to engender support and ensure momentum did not dissipate.

fowlstone’s approach:

We implemented an early direct communications campaign to pre-empt the defensive messaging with retail shareholders. We also implemented a full scale media relations program to capitalise on key transaction milestones.
We used an extensive proxy solicitation campaign to rapidly disseminate controlled messages to shareholders. This enabled fowlstone to get the company on the front foot and to ensure that their rationale for the transaction was clearly articulated and accepted.
We also undertook a program of direct communications to shareholders that was built on the Chairman’s significant credibility with shareholders.
Strategic advertising was used throughout the campaign to build shareholder acceptance, particularly around key milestones in the transaction.

The results:

By engaging shareholders early in the process, and securing support through a combination of targeted direct communications and broader dissemination of the message, widespread shareholder support was achieved and the hostile takeover was successful.

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