The planned takeover of Australian confectionery group Yowie by its largest shareholder, Keybridge Capital, has moved forward.

Last week, Yowie told the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) that the takeover bid – announced at the end of December – had not progressed as Keybridge had not dispatched the bidder’s statement within the stipulated 28-day time period.

However, in an ASX announcement today (6 February), Keybridge blamed the hold-up on “an administrative oversight during the Christmas holiday period”. The investor said it has now received consent from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) for the takeover bid to proceed.

It added: “Keybridge has also responded to ASIC on several queries it has received regarding the initial bidder’s statement lodged on 29 December 2023, so the new bidder’s statement will be updated accordingly.”

The ASIC’s consent is also conditional upon Keybridge providing the new bidder’s statement to Yowie, the ASIC and the ASX by Friday and to Yowie shareholders by 16 February.

Victoria-based Keybridge has made a so-called “off-market takeover offer” offer of 3.4 Australian cents per ordinary share for Yowie.

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By GlobalData

At the time of the initial bid, it said: “Keybridge is making the offer in order to increase its ownership level in Yowie and thereby achieve greater influence over Yowie’s future strategy and direction.”

Yowie’s most recent annual results show the business was loss-making in the year to 30 June to the tune of US$102,947.

However, that did not prevent the company from paying A$375,000 ($254,029) last year for the assets of Australia-based chocolate producer Ernest Hillier, which went into voluntary administration in June last year.

Back in 2020, Keybridge Capital, which at the time owned around 23% of Yowie’s shares, pressed for the appointment of a new board of directors at the company. Meanwhile, Mark Schuessler, the managing director and CEO, stepped down from those roles last July having been appointed in 2018.

Yowie, headquartered in Perth in Western Australia, markets its namesake products in Australia and the US to “promote learning, understanding and engagement with the natural world”, featuring Yowie characters such as Rumble and Squish. It outsources production and distribution.

Revenue in the year to 30 June was $13.3m but was down 15% from the corresponding period.