Count-Diverger merger reaches ‘huge milestone’

16 February 2024
| By Laura Dew |
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The proposed merger between Count and Diverger has received court approval to proceed on 1 March, with Count CEO Hugh Humphrey welcoming reaching the “huge milestone”. 

The Federal Court of Australia approved the scheme of arrangement for Count to acquire 100 per cent of shares in Diverger on 15 February, following approval by Diverger shareholders on 23 January. 

The implied value of the default scheme consideration, based on the closing price of Count shares on 19 January of $0.69 per Count share, is $1.39 per Diverger share.

This is the final substantive regulatory step required for the acquisition to proceed.

As a result, the transaction is now expected to have an implementation date of 1 March. 

Count chief executive, Hugh Humphrey, said: “The completion of this milestone confirms our previously announced strategic growth ambitions through the acquisition of Diverger. This is an important moment in our 44-year history which will transform Count into a larger, more diversified business.”

The larger firm, which will become Australia’s third-largest licensee behind AMP and Insignia, will deliver benefits to the network of accountants, financial advisers and clients. As of end of 2023, Wealth Data research showed Diverger had 379 advisers and Count had 367 advisers. 

“Our members and their clients will have access to a range of new services offered by Diverger, along with scale benefits that come from being one of Australia’s largest integrated accounting, wealth and services providers.”

Speaking in November, Humphrey told Money Management it was “unique” to have all parts of the acquisition ticked off, given there had been false starts for licensee mergers in the past.

“The agreed deal is unanimously supported by all of their directors, including by HUB24 who is a major shareholder in favour of the transaction.

“The team and [Diverger managing director] Nathan Jacobsen have been great to work with; it makes sense, and everyone has been happy it is happening.”

 

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