DataRoom AM: Capital interest

Two of the big four banks are sniffing around GE Capital's consumer finance division, while a Brisbane toll road is on the market.

A bevy of big names in the financial sector are taking a shine to GE Capital assets worth over $1 billion, but already the budding auction appears to be a race between two aspirants.

Elsewhere, a major toll road in Brisbane is back on the auction block, Rio Tinto wraps up its sale of assets in Mozambique and AussieCommerce joins the long list of pre-Christmas IPO candidates.

Suitors for GE Capital’s $1 billion-plus Australian consumer finance division are lining up to bid ahead of the release of an information memorandum on the auction. A trade sale is preferred by GE amid a dual-track process, according to The Australian Financial Review, with ANZ Bank and Westpac seen as clear frontrunners should an auction proceed.

Perennial M&A bridesmaid Pepper AustraliaMacquarie Group and FlexiGroup are also seen as prospective buyers, while National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank are likely to merely take a sideline interest. A deal is tipped to be signed before the end of the year.

Meanwhile, a sale of the AirportLinkM7 toll road in Brisbane is back on after owner BrisConnections this week kicked off a search for an investment bank to run the sale. BrisCon’s lenders and receiver, PPB Advisory, have already begun listening to pitches and a decision could be made on a lead adviser by Friday, though an auction may still be months away, the AFR reported.

Also in infrastructure, investment banks have been given a reprieve on exclusivity arrangements relating to the potential mass privatisations of state assets, according to the AFR. However, there is a potential conflict of interest as Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets is believed a possible buyer of port and power assets that Macquarie Capital has received a mandate to run.

In resources, Rio Tinto has finalised the sale of the Mozambique coal assets tied to its 2011 purchase of Riversdale Mining. The disastrous $3.9bn buy is summed up in the purchase price of $US50m ($54m) put up by buyer International Coal Venture.

The end of that takeover failure comes as speculation persists about Glencore readying for a 2015 play for Rio despite a declaration it’s no longer “actively considering” a deal. While Rio is believed to be putting up barriers, the biggest hurdle could come in the form of politicians and shareholders, with WA Premier Colin Barnett and key stockholders Australian Foundation Investment Companyand Argo Investments declaring opposition to the potential $180bn tie-up.

In the IPO market, online retailer AussieCommerce has tapped Macquarie Capital to advise on a $200m IPO, the AFR reports. The 2013 topper of the BRW Fast 100 companies list and owner of Cudo could float before Christmas, but the timing appears a stretch given more volatile markets.

Meanwhile, rival online retailer Temple & Webster, which is focused on furniture and homewares, is believed to be weighing a trade sale, with two venture capital firms and two retailers reportedly declaring their interest ahead of bids falling due before the end of the month.

Finally, BC Iron has secured full control of Iron Ore Holdings after lifting its stake above the 90 per cent compulsory acquisition threshold, while Melbourne Airport has turned to Europe for funding ,seeking €350m ($504m) in 10-year secured euro bonds.

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