DataRoom AM: Bradken bides time

The industrial parts maker’s board is still mulling a private equity bid, while Skilled Group and Ten Network are taking their time on takeover responses.

It’s been a sleepy start to 2015 on the M&A front as long-running targets take their time in assessing recent offers and potential buyers cool their heels amid a January market slump. In the former category is industrial parts maker Bradken, which is reportedly in no rush to offer its backing for an $872 million bid put forward in December.

Elsewhere, takeover talk heats up around Lynas Corporation, a US-based tech firm turns to Australia for a potential 2015 float, Macquarie eyes Germany for a major energy investment and clothing brand Mambo accepts an offer from a US suitor.

Bradken is believed to be happy to take its time in assessing a December takeover offer from private equity firms Bain Capital and Pacific Equity Partners as investors grow sceptical that an agreement will be reached. The $872m offer has received backing from analysts but, according to The Australian Financial Review, Bradken’s board is still a few weeks away from deciding whether or not to support the proposal.

Investors are getting increasingly edgy about the prospects for a deal, pushing Bradken stock down 5 per cent this week to levels about 12 per cent below the offer price. Should a deal not proceed, it’s tipped Bradken will press the button on a capital raising.

The go-slow at Bradken comes as fellow takeover targets Skilled Group and Ten Network also show no signs of accelerating their takeover deliberations.

Meanwhile, the struggling Lynas Corporation is increasingly likely to fall into the hands of an offshore rival. The rare earths miner endured a tumultuous 2014 and while investors are more confident about management at the firm, Technology Metals Research founder Jack Lifton has declared the firm has a “50/50” chance of survival. Lifton added that takeover chatter was on the rise, with Japanese and Korean firms seen at the top of the list of suitors.

Lynas currently trades at around 6c a share after rising above $2.50 during 2011 as investors rushed into rare earth miners with giddy excitement.

In the IPO market, mobile marketing group Other Levels is weighing a listing on the ASX despite calling San Francisco home. The AFR reports that the tech group, which originated in Australia, could hit ASX boards in May having already tapped a Sydney-based broker to assist with the float.

Offshore, a Macquarie Group offshoot has paid $1.06 billion to secure a 49.9 per cent stake in a German wind farm. Macquarie Capital’s agreement with German energy firm EnBW remains subject to approval from regulators and is expected to close around the middle of the year. The wind farm, referred to as Baltic 2, should be operational in the second quarter of 2015.

Finally, famous Aussie surfwear brand Mambo has fallen into the hands of an American fashion chain. The deal, announced early on Wednesday, is likely to present a healthy profit to current boss Angus Kingsmill and The Nervous Investor Group, who secured control of Mambo for close to $10m back in 2008.

While pricing details of the latest ownership change have not been revealed, new owner Saban Brands is likely to have paid considerably more than the 2008 price given the successful turnaround strategy executed by Kingsmill since taking control.

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