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BGH sweetens Village Roadshow takeover bid by nearly 30%

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(Reuters) - Village Roadshow said on Monday private equity firm BGH Capital agreed to sweeten its takeover offer by nearly 30%, taking the deal value to A$585.9 million ($429.00 million), as it attempts to end a near year-long pursuit of the Australian theme parks operator.

Under the structure A scheme, BGH will now pay A$3 per Village Roadshow share, which represents a 22.4% premium to the theme park operator's last closing price and is up from A$2.32 per share it had offered earlier.

Under a structure B scheme, BGH will pay A$2.95 per share, up from A$2.22 per share.

Village Roadshow is one of the country's most exposed companies to the coronavirus crisis as its theme parks and theaters were forced shut to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

BGH and Pacific Equity Partners were in the race to buy the country's largest theme park operator before authorities shut down non-essential pubic venues nationwide due to the pandemic.

Spheria Asset Management, Village Roadshow's third-largest shareholder with a 7.8% stake according to Refinitiv data, now intends to vote for the improved bid, the theme park operator said.

Village Roadshow said it had a net debt of about A$311 million at the end of October, and expects it to touch between A$370 million and A$380 million by next June.

(Reporting by Sameer Manekar and Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam Holmes and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)