DataRoom AM: Alacer’s gold watch

The US-based gold producer is being suited by OceanaGold, while IT group Aconex is preparing for a pre-IPO roadshow.

The gold sector has taken a hammering over the past 12 months as the price of the precious metal has yielded considerable ground. But one ASX-listed group sees opportunity in the darkest hour, with a major mid-tier merger potentially in the works.

Elsewhere, the ASX makes a play to boost its derivatives trading operations, van Eyk is placed on the auction block, and the IPO market looks set to end 2014 in a similar fashion as 2013 -- with a flurry of activity.

A new force could soon emerge in the Australian gold mining scene as Melbourne-based OceanaGold reportedly seeks to engage with US-based Alacer Gold on a $600 million takeover. It is believed Alacer has been lukewarm to the approach, with OceanaGold so far unable to offer a deal strong enough to gain access to Alacer’s books.

The speculation, outlined in The Australian Financial Review, comes after Alacer stock slumped 6 per cent on the ASX yesterday to a fresh 52-week low. But, in a sign of what’s to come in local trade today, its Toronto-listed stock jumped 10 per cent overnight. Both firms are ASX-listed, but neither has significant Australian assets.

Meanwhile, construction and engineering software group Aconex is preparing for a pre-IPO roadshow next month ahead of a listing in November. Macquarie Capital and UBS are charged with running the float, which could raise hundreds of millions of dollars depending on how much of the company is put on the table.

The development comes as cloud platform provider Urbanise.com steps up its float plans, closing its $20m bookbuild early after meeting strong demand. The firm is now due to list on Monday with a market capitalisation of $108.5m.

Also in the IPO market, GPT Group is looking to raise $255m through a float of business park spin-off GPT Metro Office Fund, according to the AFR. A bookbuild is slated for September 30 ahead of an October 24 listing.

In finance, funds management group van Eyk, which entered voluntary administration earlier this week, has been put on the market, with expressions of interest sought before September 23. The news comes amid reports from the AFR that Macquarie Group, which closed van Eyk’s Blueprint series of funds earlier this month, has an option to take a 35-40 per cent share of sale proceeds.

Elsewhere, the Australian Securities Exchange has paid $65m for a 49 per cent stake in electronic markets group Yieldbroker. The deal, made to boost ASX’s derivatives trading business, is likely to be wrapped up by year’s end.

Finally, private equity firm Navis Capital has reached an agreement to purchase education equipment supplier Modern Star for more than $200m, according to the AFR, while the retail part of a $754m capital raising by Arrium is under threat of falling short of its target after the firm’s stock sunk 38.5 per cent on the back of a $465m institutional raising.