DataRoom AM: Lloyds' list

ANZ has passed on Lloyds' Australian banking assets while Commonwealth Property Office Fund may have another bid in the offing.

Lloyd’s Banking Group final offers aren’t due until next week but ANZ has already bailed apparently. Meanwhile, Aurizon’s stake sale idea is reportedly off the table, GPT could be moving for a Commonwealth Property Office Fund tilt and Virgin Australia signs on for another five years with the AFL – they can only hope that Fremantle makes a few more GFs to bump up Perth-Melbourne flights.

Lloyds Banking Group, ANZ Banking Group

ANZ Banking Group has dropped out of the race for the rest of Lloyds Banking Group’s Australian business, according to media reports.

Final offers are due to land on September 30 and Lloyd’s is expecting to get a variety of proposals for different sections of its business. The British bank’s preference however is for a deal that covers the whole business.

Deutsche was advising ANZ.

That leaves Westpac Banking Group, Macquarie Group and Pepper Australia as the Australian bidders that still appear to be in the race.

Aurizon

Rail haulage company Aurizon has reportedly put plans to sell minority stakes in its tracks to institutional players on hold as it focuses on cutting back spending.

The Australian Financial Review understands that Aurizon is still open to offloading stakes down the track (so to speak), but weaker operating environments have forced a change in emphasis.

And speaking of tracks, we’ve received no fresh news from Fortescue Metals Group about its plans to sell a minority stake in its port and rail infrastructure since discovering that the old September 30 deadline had been pushed back.

Commonwealth Property Office Fund, GPT Group, Dexus Property Group

Commonwealth Property Office Fund could have another suitor plotting a potential $3 billion run with GPT Group reportedly tapping Merrill Lynch to have a look at the idea.

The Australian reports that Merrill hasn’t been formerly appointed, but it’s sniffing around on behalf of GPT. Mirvac Group is in a similar situation with Lazard.

If you’re the betting type, Dexus Property Group is probably favourite to win the day, but’s it’s a long way to go yet.

Virgin Australia, Australian Football League

With the AFL and NRL grand finals hurtling towards us, let’s talk sports business deals.

Virgin Australia has renewed its official airline sponsorship with the AFL with the new deal extending to 2018.

The budget carrier also becomes a naming rights partner of the AFL GF half time show, the premiership party and the GF week party.

“It is a great honour to be the official airline of Australia’s most popular sport, especially during such an exciting period of growth and expansion for the game,” said Virgin Australia boss John Borghetti.

The veteran airline executive said the carrier has flown AFL teams on more than 450 flights since the partnership began three years ago.

AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou had some similarly warm words to say about the deal.

With Fremantle catapulted into its first AFL grand final a mere two years since poaching former St Kilda coach Ross Lyon, that deal could arguably go down as the best deal for an AFL club in the last decade.

In the corporate world, poaching happens all the time. Lyon’s move is somewhat comparable to Julian Sagel’s move from Incitec Pivot to Caltex Australia.

Unfortunately for Caltex, for various reasons outside his control Sagel hasn’t been able to deliver a Lyon-style bump.

Since begin nabbed by Caltex in April 2009, his new company’s share price is just 0.3 per cent higher than his former employer.

And just moving back to aviation for just a second, Qantas Airways has signed a promotional deal with Tasmania to go with its partnerships with Western Australia, NSW, Queensland and the Northern Territory.

These deals come in the wake of Qantas’s bust up with Tourism Australia, which was largely thought to stem from a rift between chief executive Alan Joyce and his predecessor, and now Tourism Australian chairman, Geoff Dixon.

Wrapping up

Fresh APN News & Media chief executive Michael Miller says the review he’s leading on the company’s media assets won’t necessarily lead to divestments, The Australian Financial Review reports.

While we’re talking media, the same newspaper reports that Nine Entertainment’s joint venture with Cricket Australia for digital broadcasting of all cricket will effectively lock rival Ten Network out from new media broadcasting, even though it holds the traditional broadcasting rights to the Big Bash League.

And finally employment services company Skilled Group has secured a $200 million deal to provide labour for a pipeline project that will link Darwin with offshore gas deposits off Western Australia.

The deal is with Portugal’s Saipem.

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