DataRoom AM: Bain's MYOB challenge

Bain Capital looks set to make a tidy profit by floating software provider MYOB, while the federal government is buoyed by public interest in the Medibank float.

Bain Capital appears set to press ‘go’ on a $3 billion float of the nation’s largest accounting software provider, but it will want to see the markets stabilise before shoring up its plans.

Elsewhere, a sale of National Australia Bank’s life insurance unit is judged capable of securing $1.5bn, BHP Billiton reacts to investor pressure on its planned spinoff, Woodside Petroleum weighs takeover opportunities and Macquarie Group makes a big bet on UK airports.

Private equity behemoth Bain Capital is looking to cash in its chips on accounting software provider MYOB, tapping seven investment banks to pitch for the lucrative advisory roles on what could be a $3bn float, The Australian Financial Review reports. A listing is expected in 2015, but the timing will no doubt hinge on the strength of the market. Should the $3bn figure be reached, it would ensure a healthy profit after Bain acquired MYOB for just $1.2bn in 2011.

It comes as the federal government reports substantial interest in the $5bn float of Medibank Private, despite recent market jitters, with 750,494 Australians lodging their interest in the offer ahead of the release of the prospectus on Monday.

Also in the IPO market, Shriro Australia is set to pursue a surprise $100 million listing, with the AFR reporting the local marketer of the Casio brand will test fund manager interest next week.

Meanwhile, National Australia Bank’s life insurance unit continues to draw the headlines, with AIA Group and MetLife the latest to be linked to bids for the division. According to Bloomberg, the two firms could bid as much as $1.5 billion for NAB’s life insurance operation, though the Australian bank has yet to pull the trigger on a sale with advisor JPMorgan. Japan’s Dai-Ichi Life and Nippon have also been linked to the possible auction.

In resources, BHP Billiton has bowed to investor pressure and confirmed it will now list its spin-off in London as well as Australia and South Africa. The potential $15bn company, which will house a lucrative swag of non-core assets and list in 2015, was the centre of a public outcry from UK investors when the initial decision was made to snub the FTSE.

Fellow mining giant Rio Tinto has also captured attention overnight via a move to abandon its aluminium joint venture with the Cameroon government. The firm will look to find another party to claim its 46.7 per cent stake in Alucam before Christmas.

Closer to home, Leighton Holdings continues to see the number of interested parties for its services division dwindle, with Spain’s Ferrovial now out of the race, according to the AFR. It leaves TPG and Apollo Global Management as the only rumoured suitors left in the running.

It’s not the only news surrounding Ferrovial and a big-name Australian firm, with the Spanish group teaming with Macquarie Group to purchase three British airports. The near $2bn deal will see the JV claim control of the Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton airports.

Also in infrastructure, the race for BG Group’s $3bn-plus gas pipeline assets in Queensland remains heated, with four consortia believed to still be in the running. Cheung Kong InfrastructureAPA GroupAMP and Industry Funds Management are considered to be the leaders, with fresh interest seen from South Korean and Canadian pension funds ahead of bids falling due in November.

In energy, Woodside Petroleum is once again in the M&A spotlight, linked to a host of possible acquisitions. London-listed Ophir Energy is seen as perhaps the most likely target, while Apache’s WA assets and Alaskan Kitimat LNG project could also be in the Perth-based group’s sights.

Elsewhere, the AFR reports that Melbourne-based Betta Foods is set to fall into the hands of Britain’s Re:Capital. Late-stage takeover discussions are still underway, but the iconic Eskimo chocolate snowballs brand appears certain to find a new home.

Finally, Crescent Capital has opted to sell its remaining 13 per cent stake in Cover-More just two months after its shares came out of escrow, the Ingham family’s plans to float a holiday park portfolio have been cast into doubt because of limited investor interest and the ACCC has postponed a decision on a brick production JV between local heavyweights CSR and Boral amid duopoly worries.

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