DataRoom AM: Frasers in control

Frasers Centrepoint has managed to claim control of Australand just in the nick of time, while Cheung Kong Infrastructure has silenced the doubters on its Envestra bid by securing a controlling stake.

It went down to the wire, but Frasers Centrepoint has safely claimed majority ownership of local property group Australand after one of the most keenly watched takeover battles of the year.

Elsewhere, Cheung Kong Infrastructure obtains control of Envestra, APA Group goes shopping in Queensland and Pepperstone steps up IPO preparations.

Singapore’s Frasers Centrepoint has managed to wrap up control of target Australand just ahead of a hard deadline on the deal. The $2.6 billion takeover, the largest in Frasers’ history, came with plenty of stress for the suitor as even six hours out from the 7pm cutoff time the firm was more than 10 per cent shy of a majority stake. However, a late flurry of acceptances from hedge funds -- who had been holding out in the hopes of a higher deal -- saw Frasers’ stake jump above 56 per cent by 5pm. The deal is now unconditional and will be extended for two weeks.

The news leaves former suitor Stockland to lick its wounds after another failed takeover bid amid reports the ASX-listed firm may make a play for Leighton Properties.

Meanwhile, Cheung Kong Infrastructure’s $2.4bn bid for control of Envestra has also reached 50 per cent acceptances just days after fears were raised the proposal would fail to clear ahead of tonight’s deadline. The controlling stake was secured after 33 per cent shareholder, and former Envestra suitor, APA Group decided to offload its shares for close to $800 million. CKI now has over 70 per cent of the register, with the deal to be extended for another fortnight now the 50 per cent milestone has been reached.

APA, meanwhile, sees potential to immediately reallocate the proceeds to Queensland LNG infrastructure, with the much hyped $2.5bn-plus sale of assets related to BG Group’s mammoth Queensland Curtis LNG project potentially at the top of the list of targets.

Also in energy, Linc Energy is currently assessing bids for its Australian coal assets, Bloomberg reports. The former ASX-listed group informed the media outlet a number of firms had expressed interest in the $100m-plus assets as a ‘cyclical play’, but a decision to press ahead with a trade sale or IPO has not yet been made.

Elsewhere, Pepperstone is mulling an application for a Japanese trading licence ahead of a possible float on the ASX, according to The Australian Financial Review. One way the foreign currency broker may secure a licence is via a small acquisition in the region prior to a $600m listing in the December quarter.

In retail, Woolworths has wrapped up a minor victory after the competition regulator opted not to contest the retailer’s plans to purchase Hudson Building Supplies through its Masters joint venture. The deal is believed to be worth in the vicinity of $20 million.

In gaming, the WA government is weighing the privatisation of its TAB, the AFR reports. Racing and Wagering WA has reportedly called in Deloitte to advise on the impact of a sale, with the move coming less than a fortnight after the ACT government sold ACTTAB to Tabcorp. The ACT divestment left WA with the only state-owned TAB in the country.

Finally, aged care group Japara Healthcare has secured a $95m debt facility that may serve as a war chest for acquisitions, while former Dan Murphy’s and Coles Liquor boss Tony Leon has taken a 50 per cent stake in small liquor retailer and wholesaler Steve’s Liquor, according to the AFR.

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