DataRoom AM: Lend Lease scope-out

Lend Lease throws its hat in the ring for Healthscope, while Stockland’s increased Australand stake raises takeover questions.

Healthscope has yet another big fish circling for a deal, which ensures owners TPG Capital and Carlyle Group won’t be left short of an option.

Meanwhile, Stockland’s Australand move hasn’t won universal praise, Fairfax chairman Roger Corbett is thought to be thinking media reform-inspired deals and Echo Entertainment has a new shareholder with a plan.

Lend Lease is jostling for Healthscope’s $1.25 billion property portfolio, further complicating the picture of suitors that leaves private equity owners TPG Capital and Carlyle Group apparently spoilt for choice.

The Australian reports that Lend Lease is making a run for the property and that it would manage the assets on behalf of superannuation funds.

When the private equity owners originally started moving towards an action on Healthscope it appeared to be the case that an IPO -- something in the magnitude of $4bn -- was most likely, given the current float activity.

But it’s since emerged that AustralianSuper is thinking about getting a consortium together for Healthscope, which follows a report that Malaysia’s IHH Healthcare was also thinking about a run -- for up to $5bn.

Elsewhere, Stockland set the market alight with news that it has 19.9 per cent of Australand Property Group, building speculation that a takeover bid is inevitable.

However, Morgan Stanley believes Stockland’s run isn’t a lock, strategically speaking, thanks to the recent rise in the target’s share price, The Australian Financial Review reports.

At yesterday’s closing price, Australand was worth $2.3bn. Morgan Stanley believes that if Stockland is to secure any synergies with Australand it’ll need to mount a full-blown takeover offer.

Which, the AFR reports, begs the question: Why didn’t they go for a greater slice?

Meanwhile, The Australian reports on growing speculation that Fairfax Media chairman Roger Corbett is making plans for an alliance with another media player amid the shake-up in media ownership reforms.

The newspaper reports that “senior media executives” say Corbett isn’t formally discussing a deal, but has left many with the impression that he’s open to one.

Elsewhere, hedge fund VGI Partners has picked up a 3 per cent stake in Echo Entertainment, with an eye to push the new management for change.

The AFR reports that VGI says Echo is the “cheapest casino stock in the developed world”, and a presentation to investors says it can “liaise closely” with management of the gaming company as “one of its largest shareholders”.

Speaking of stake movements, Wotif.com shares shot up 23 per cent yesterday after the market saw the back of a large share of Hyperion Asset Management’s stake, which was considered an overhang on the stock.

In an update to shareholders, Yellow Brick Road says it will be profitable by 2015 and that it’s thinking about at least three deals to capitalise on “vastly improved” market conditions. Investment bank Macquarie Group is a part-owner of the Mark Bouris vehicle.

The AFR reports that tech entrepreneur Ben Werther has raised $US38 million ($41.8m) for his firm in Silicon Valley, which the newspaper says is one of the largest injections a tech start-up firm run by an Australian has picked up.

Staying with tech, online job outsourcer Freelancer has acquired Poland’s largest freelance market place, Zlecenia.przez.net. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.