DataRoom AM: Cabcharge’s cold-shoulder

Cabcharge has decided to pass on an offer for its taxi payments division, while Transfield’s share price jumped on news that a Spanish firm could raise its bid for the company.

Cabcharge Australia has shunned a bid for its largest division and has no intention of engaging with its US-based suitor despite the proposal nearly accounting for all of its market value.

Elsewhere, two prominent services firms founded by Carlo Salteri in the 20th century receive bids on the same day, Pacific Equity Partners abandons a plan to sell its remaining stake in Veda Group and Medibank Private draws plenty of attention as its listing plans are revealed.

ASX-listed Cabcharge has reportedly turned down a play for its market leading taxi payments division from Fleetcor, a $12.6 billion US-listed payment services firm. According to The Australian Financial Review, the suitor sought due diligence approval after lobbing in a non-binding $500 million offer sometime in the past two months, but was quickly rebuffed with the target choosing not to inform the market of the approach.

Cabcharge, which also owns taxi networks and provides bus services, is currently valued at $560m, with the bid for its largest division highlighting the small size of the operation that would remain should its flagship division be sold.

Meanwhile, key Transfield shareholders, including David Paradice and fund manager Allan Gray, have backed a move from the industrial services firm to dismiss a $1 billion bid from Spain’s Ferrovial. News of the offer led Transfield shares 27 per cent higher yesterday, with the target partially opening its books amid hopes Ferrovial could raise its bid to complete a deal.

The development came on the same day that Tenix -- an engineering firm that like Transfield was founded by Carlo Salteri -- accepted a $300m offer from Downer EDI. Tenix, which was established four decades after Transfield’s 1956 creation, will be swallowed up by the end of the month, after earlier knocking back advances from Pacific Equity PartnersKKR and Ironbridge.

In the IPO market, attention was largely on Medibank Private yesterday as the release of its prospectus revealed hopes to raise as much as $5.5bn. The private health insurer -- which denied it was on the hunt for acquisitions post-listing -- will hit ASX boards on November 25 in the biggest IPO for at least four years.

The developments put positive news on the float of Simonds in the shade. The Victorian homebuilder was able to successfully complete an oversubscribed bookbuild to raise $161m ahead of a listing in November.

Elsewhere, former REA Group boss Greg Ellis was reportedly close to a quick return to the ASX with new company Scout24. The AFR reports the German-based firm almost pulled the trigger on a listing in Sydney earlier this year, but has since chosen Frankfurt for its IPO.

In equity market news, Pacific Equity Partners has canned a planned selldown of its remaining 32 per cent stake in Veda Group. The $600m shareholding was due to be discarded through a stock sale last night, but the AFR reports bids from five investment banks failed to meet expectations.

PEP successfully hived off a similarly sized stake in August for $580m.

Finally, Archer Capital has put its $40m comfort footwear business, Homy Ped, up for auction, while Cheung Kong Infrastructure has tapped Credit Suisse to arrange the debt required for its bid on the $4bn-plus pipeline assets put up for grabs by BG Group, according to the AFR.

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