BREAKFAST DEALS: Gloucester heat

Yanzhou Coal's local arm and Gloucester Coal eye a merger, while Woolworths boosts its pub holdings.

The Australian coal sector surely can’t get any hotter than this. Yanzhou Coal’s Australian arm Yancoal is reportedly in discussions with Gloucester Coal about an $8 billion merger agreement. If this deal goes ahead, however, all eyes will be on precisely how Yancoal uses it to satisfy its deal with the Australian government to list 30 per cent of its local assets by the end of next year. Meanwhile, Woolworths is strengthening its grip on the NSW pub industry with a set of deals said to be worth $500 million. Elsewhere, James Packer is getting out of the Australian snowfields with his second deal in as many months, Billabong International will need to get creative if it wants to buy its way out of trouble with asset sales and Spotless Group chairman Peter Smedley has until the middle of January to deliver a presentation to Pacific Equity Partners. After that, shareholders could become a little irate.

Yancoal Australia, Gloucester Coal

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