DataRoom AM: Charming Treasury Wine

A number of global suitors are reportedly mulling bids for Treasury Wine Estates, while Nathan Tinkler puts on a brave face amid suggestions his coal mining re-entry is falling apart.

Long touted as a takeover target, it appears Treasury Wine Estates is finally getting the attention many analysts expected upon its separation from Foster’s. But a higher bid than the recent KKR offer may still be a stretch.

Elsewhere, Nathan Tinkler insists all is well with his latest coal foray, Woolworths finds a way to win Solomon Lew’s support for its planned DJs takeover and the IPO market heats up ahead of a series of tests.

Private equity firm KKR’s snubbed $3.1 billion bid for control of Treasury Wine Estates in May could prove the precursor to a bidding war, with speculation mounting of three firms joining the race. According to The Australian Financial Review, China’s Bright Food, America’s Constellation Brands and French luxury goods firm LVMH are eyeing off bids. However, the struggles at TWE are considered unlikely to draw a bid substantially above the KKR proposal.

Meanwhile, Nathan Tinkler is adamant his $150m deal to purchase the Wilkie Creek coal mine in Queensland is still ‘on track’ despite reports it could be abandoned due to financing issues. Tinkler admitted there had been a slight delay to funding arrangements as a result of the slow completion of the sale of his horseracing empire, but the issues should not upset his re-entry into the local coal sector.

Woolworths SA has found a crafty way to get Solomon Lew onside for its planned David Jones takeover without upsetting regulators, putting forward a healthy offer to claim the 12 per cent of Country Road it does not own. Given Lew controls 11.8 per cent of Country Road and the deal will only proceed if the DJs takeover progresses, it is a none-too-subtle wink in his direction, as Stephen Bartholomeusz explains here. Legally the move is fine, but ethically it may raise a few eyebrows.  

In the IPO market, the Australian roadshow for the float of Healthscope begins next week ahead of a listing in the next quarter that could raise close to $2.5bn, the largest in Australia since QR National (now Aurizon) in 2010. The deal is expected to value Healthscope at close to $5bn and comes as Monash IVF prepares to test the market’s appetite for stocks in the healthcare sector by hitting ASX boards today.

Also preparing to hit markets this week is household goods manufacturer Asaleo Care, which has raised $656m through its float. The firm’s bookbuild officially closed oversubscribed yesterday ahead of its Friday listing.

Another IPO candidate, the Ironbridge-owned Fleet Partners, is looking to merge with rival FleetPlus ahead of a run at ASX boards later this year. The merger could be wrapped up by the end of July, the AFR said.

Elsewhere, Woodside Petroleum continues to carry out due diligence on plans for the Browse project, with execs of the firm getting a first-hand look at developments at Shell’s Prelude project last week, the AFR reports. The Prelude development serves as a handy guide to the prospects for Browse.

Finally, Ten Network and Fairfax have wrapped up a $90m merger of their dating websites -- Oasis Active and RSVP -- after months of negotiations, while Seven Group has delivered another $30m to crisis-hit Nexus Energy so it can stay afloat long enough for its assets to be hived off.