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Stafford Capital offers to buy Phaunos Timber Fund for US$244M

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Stafford Capital offers to buy Phaunos Timber Fund for US$244M

Phaunos Timber Fund Ltd., which is in the process of being wound down and reviewing asset portfolio realization, confirmed receipt of an approximately US$244.2 million cash buyout offer from Stafford Capital Partners Ltd.

The private markets investment and advisory group is offering to acquire all of Phaunos' shares for 49 cents apiece, representing a premium of about 11% to the per-share closing price on June 4, the last business day before the commencement of the offer period.

Mahogany Bidco Ltd., a newly incorporated company owned by Stafford International Timberland Fund VIII and controlled by Stafford Capital, is set to post its formal offer document between July 18 and July 27. Phaunos may respond up to 14 days after the posting of such offer document. The cash offer is contingent on the prospective buyer receiving valid acceptances of not less than 90% in value of the Phaunos shares being acquired.

Stafford Capital said July 3 that among other benefits, the offer gives Phaunos' board the option to sell the fund's entire asset portfolio, which would include those assets that are not part of the asset realization process, in a single corporate sale without the need for a lengthy due diligence process. These assets include Aurora Forestal, GreenWood Tree Farm Fund and National Timber Partners.

Phaunos separately said it has received initial indications of interest from various parties for the assets included in its asset portfolio realization process, noting that the bids are encouraging.

The timber fund, which is registered in Guernsey and trades its shares on the London Stock Exchange, holds a portfolio of timberland and timber-related investments in New Zealand, North America and South America.

Ashurst LLP was Stafford's legal adviser in the offer.