BREAKFAST DEALS: OzForex ambitions

OzForex is considering even grander plans, while 6 per cent of Virgin Australia is still unaccounted for.

The Macquarie-backed OzForex might have just done a big deal with a major international cash transfer company, but the Aussie player is thinking about something even bigger. Meanwhile Virgin Australia’s trading last week still has some onlookers scratching their heads, there are yet more problems for Billabong International and GrainCorp’s suitor has sent a heavy hitter to keep an eye on the takeover proceedings.

OzForex, MoneyGram International

Australian online foreign exchange company OzForex is seriously considering its options after doing a deal with global transfer company MoneyGram International to provide money transfer services to the American giant’s Australian and New Zealand customers.

OzForex – backed by Macquarie Group, Carlyle Group and Accel Partners – has appointed San Fransisco’s Financial Technology Partners to test the interest of buyers, whether they’re private equity or strategic buyers.

Previous reports have indicated that at least one of the big four Australian banks have had a look at OzForex. An initial public offering is also being considered.

OzForex really can pinch a bunch of business from the big four. International transfers are no easier to do through the big four’s online portals and they’ll take a disgraceful chunk of the transaction for the privilege.

Easy pickings for a nimble online mover.

Virgin Australia, Air New Zealand

Some travellers returning to their home cities after the long weekend on Virgin Australia might be asking who actually owns this thing?

Actually, no one’s asking that. Who would be sad enough to do that, except a select few in the business press?

Last week, about 9 per cent of the Virgin Australia register changed hands and the mystery appeared solved when Air New Zealand released a statement to the ASX indicating that its stake had risen from 19.99 per cent to 22.99 per cent.

In actual fact, Air New Zealand is holding on to that extra 3 per cent via a Deutsche Bank cash-equity swap deal, under the advice of Gresham. The Kiwis won’t seize control of those additional shares until they’ve received the blessing of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Foreign Investment Review Board.

That still leaves 6 per cent unaccounted for. Who’s selling is just as important a question as who is buying?

The seller could have offloaded the additional stock to Captain Nobody. The Air New Zealand stake might be all that’s strategically important.

However, it’s easy to see how if Sir Richard Branson were the seller, he could have offloaded quite a bit of Virgin Group’s remaining 12.7 per cent stake – having sold 10 per cent to Singapore Airlines not long ago – without declaring it yet.

Meanwhile, AirAsiaX is in the process of taking orders for its $US426 million ($448.4 million) listing in Malaysia.

Plans for a float are finally coming to fruition after three years of whispers. Sir Richard’s Virgin Atlantic Group sold out of AirAsia X about a year ago.

Billabong International

More important staff members are leaving Billabong International at a time when it’s desperately trying to get a financing deal in order, even as a larger, better placed rival, shows real signs of struggle.

US website shop-eat-surf.com reports that the right hand to former Billabong Americas director Paul Naude has resigned.

Naude was of course leading a takeover bid with Sycamore Partners, one of two bids for Billabong that failed last week after months of due diligence. Naude took a leave of absence from his role while the bid was being mustered.

Sarver was VP of administration and had some pretty strong words for her former employer.

“The company morale has never been lower, and the environment is toxic,” she said.

The environment should be toxic, given the circumstances. Billabong remains in talks with Sycamore, and former rival suitor Altamont Capital Partners, about potential asset sales and financing deals.

Last week, Citibank’s Craig Woolford said Billabong’s RVCA brand could fetch $50 million, while RVCA, Billabong and accessories label DaKine could generate $110 million.

The surfwear company is currently worth $100.6 million with $200 million in debt.

Senior rival Quiksilver shocked the market last week when its missed second quarter revenue and earnings estimates.

The company, founder in Torquay, Victoria, and now listed in New York, plunged 10 per cent on the news.

Wrapping up

Archer Daniels Midland grain boss Ian Pinner is in Australia at the moment to do his darndest to get the $3 billion GrainCorp bid over the line, according to The Australian.

The ACCC is due to give its summation on the matter by the end of this month. But it’s the jabs from the The Nationals in the lead up to the FIRB's decision that Pinner will have to be especially responsive to.

In harder commodities, BHP Billiton has officially sold out of the Browse LNG joint venture led by Woodside Petroleum.

Energy giant PetroChina is picking up the 8.33 per cent stake in East Browse and the 20 per cent interest in West Browse for a total of $US1.63 billion ($1.71 billion).

And finally, there finally appears to be proper movement on Suncorp Group’s poor property loan portfolio.

The Australian Financial Review reports that Goldman Sachs, Macquarie Bank, Deutsche Bank, a Morgan Stanley real estate fund and private equity giant Blackstone have been given full access to the portfolio.

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