DataRoom AM: Macquarie's IT auction

Macquarie Group puts its $1bn IT leasing unit up for sale in the US, while Transfield Services partially opens its doors to suitor Ferrovial.

Macquarie Group has been on the acquisition trail for much of the year, but it is turning seller this month in placing a $1 billion division on the chopping block.

Elsewhere, Transfield Services takes a big step towards a takeover, TPG Telecom blurs the Amcom-Vocus merger picture and oOh!Media gets a shot in the arm for a potential IPO.

Macquarie Group’s Corporate and Asset Finance division has placed its $1bn IT leasing operation up for sale in the US. The auction of Macquarie Equipment Finance, according to The Australian Financial Review, has already begun, with a deal expected early next year.

Macquarie paid $700 million for the operations in 2007 and is believed to be confident of securing a premium to this price due to strong interest in US-based IT businesses over recent months.

Meanwhile, Transfield Services has signed a long-awaited confidentiality agreement with suitor Ferrovial that will see the Spanish firm gain access to key company documents. The deal is hoped to draw a higher bid from Ferrovial and will bar the suitor from trading in Transfield stock until February 28.

The news follows the rejection of a $1bn bid from Ferrovial in October.

In telecommunications, TPG Telecom continues to offer nuisance value to the planned $1bn merger between Amcom and Vocus, lifting its stake in Amcom from 5.2 per cent to 6.7 per cent this week. It’s a hint that TPG is keen to secure at least 10 per cent, which would allow it to block a full merger of its two rivals.

In the IPO market, a strong start to life on ASX boards from APN Outdoor is likely to see Champ Private Equity pull the trigger on a $450m float of rival oOh!Media before the end of the year. APN added 4 per cent on debut yesterday, enough for Champ to press ahead with a listing of oOh!Media in mid-December, according to the AFR.

Elsewhere, local language technology business Appen Holdings is also tipped to hit ASX boards before Christmas, beginning an overseas roadshow last week in London. The firm, majority owned by Anacacia Capital, is likely to receive a valuation of about $100m.

In media, the fight for control of Ten Network has moved to the next stage as several suitors walk through proposals with Ten management this week. First up, according to the AFR, were Discovery Communications and its JV partner Foxtel, which met with Ten execs yesterday. They will be followed by Hellman & Friedman and Anchorage Capital later in the week.

In energy, Seven Group chief executive Don Voelte has said his firm remains unsure as to whether it will gain full control of troubled Nexus Energy. Seven is locked in a court battle with disgruntled investors who would rather Nexus be liquidated rather than hived off to Seven.

In property, investment banks are lining up to participate in a widely anticipated block trade at Goodman Group. It is speculated that China Investment Corporation wants to rid itself of its 9.9 per cent stake and while several banks have pitched for the lucrative advisory role, Goldman Sachs may already have been tapped to run the deal.

Finally, Recall Holdings may be gearing up for a takeover approach from rival Iron Mountain with a potential move to convert to a real estate investment trust in the US, while Origin Energy is believed to be making progress on the renegotiation of the $6.6bn loan facility it secured last year.

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