An ASX statement from The Agency Group board has touted “significant results” against Mitchell Atkins and Magnolia in the previous days.
It highlighted the ending of “purported administration” against The Agency board after a hearing in the Federal Court on 1 February 2021, as well as the declaration of unacceptable circumstances provided by the Australian Government Takeovers Panel, as previously reported by REB.
Here’s the latest:
Federal Court proceedings regarding purported administration of The Agency
The board outlined that with no creditors or other interested parties appearing, or any applications being made to revoke the court’s previous order that The Agency would remain in directors’ hands, the purported administration of the company was to end.
At this hearing, an order was made to set a date for the hearing of Magnolia’s debt claim — to be heard on 4 March 2021. The Agency disputes this claim of debt, and has previously stated that “the alleged and disputed ‘debt’ of approximately $385,000” relates to alleged fees on a mandate that was entered into for the purpose of securing debt funding — under which it stated that Magnolia “was unable to deliver any funding at all”.
In welcoming the end of the purported administration, The Agency’s directors cited its “disruptive effect” on the business, commenting that they “look forward to continuing to act in the long-term interests of shareholders and other stakeholders”.
“The board is confident of its financial position and categorically refutes any question of insolvency,” the statement continued.
Australian Government Takeovers Panel declaration regarding Magnolia’s proposal
The Agency’s board also applauded the outcome from the Takeovers Panel’s review of the proposal by Magnolia to gain a majority share in the real estate network’s corporate business.
The statement expressed it was “glad that the Takeovers Panel has acknowledged the concerns held by AU1 regarding Magnolia’s disclosure of its funding arrangements and found that Magnolia’s failure to address those matters constitutes unacceptable circumstances”.
It also highlighted how the panel found no unacceptable circumstances surrounding The Agency’s annual general meeting and the approval of the Peters Investments funding arrangements.
“In summary, AU1’s application was substantially successful, while Magnolia’s application was not,” the ASX statement read.
Weighing in on the day’s proceedings, The Agency Group’s managing director, Paul Niardone, said: “This was a resounding success for The Agency Group, who have had to deal with these baseless and distractionary antics of Mitchell Atkins and Magnolia Capital.
“The board remains resolute on continuing to deliver on its long-term strategy and deliver positive outcomes to all stakeholders, including staff, agents, clients and shareholders.”
He added that the company strongly refutes any suggestions that it is insolvent, commenting that The Agency’s directors “are confident in their plans for the future, and recent independent reviews have bolstered that confidence”.
“The company is in a strong financial position, with new major shareholder Peters Investments providing the company with a new stable and financial major shareholder to support the company on its continued growth,” Mr Niardone said.
The managing director also took the time to respond to a previous comment from Mitchell Atkins, who had said Magnolia would continue to keep its options under active review, before stating that “a future control transaction” could remain on the cards.
Mr Niardone said: “Mr Atkins’ comments that he may consider a future control transaction appear to be inconsistent with his assertion that AU1 is insolvent.
“It appears that Magnolia is still considering only what is in its own best interests and ignoring the detrimental effect of its disruptive actions on Magnolia’s own shareholding and AU1’s other shareholders.”
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Grace is a journalist across Momentum property and investment brands. Grace joined Momentum Media in 2018, bringing with her a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Communication (Journalism) from the University of Newcastle. She’s passionate about delivering easy to digest information and content relevant to her key audiences and stakeholders.