DataRoom AM: Macquarie's mortgage fancy

Macquarie Group is leading the race for ING Direct's $1.5bn non-branded mortgage book, while due diligence on Treasury Wine Estates begins to wrap up.

ING Direct is edging closer to ridding itself of its non-branded mortgage book, with Macquarie Group jumping into the front seat on a deal as it seeks to lift its housing market exposure.

Elsewhere, due diligence on Treasury Wine Estates nears an end, action in the IPO market heats up on both sides of the Tasman, and a Noni B takeover appears imminent.

Macquarie Group is the favourite to land ING Direct’s $1.5 billion non-branded mortgage book, according to The Australian Financial Review, as ING’s sale of non-branded loans continues apace. ING started the process in June by hiring Gresham to run the auction and while the big four banks, regional giants and Pepper Australia have all shown interest, it is believed the book is Macquarie’s to lose.

Meanwhile, the AFR reports Kohlberg Kravis Roberts has opted not to offer former Coca-Cola Amatil boss Terry Davis a job should it win control of Treasury Wine Estates, ending its relationship with him after calling on his advice for the potential $3.4bn takeover. It is believed that final bids from either KKR or TPG could be forthcoming later this month as both private equity firms likely wrap up due diligence in three weeks’ time.

In the IPO market, the float of Regis Healthcare should value the firm at as much as $1.2bn, according to lead manager Macquarie Capital. The float, to move forward later this month, is likely to raise $400 million-plus, the AFR reports, with Morgans and Evans & Partners serving alongside Macquarie in lead advisory roles.

A major property IPO could also be in the works, with former Macquarie real estate head Stephen Girdis tapping Commonwealth Bank of Australia to market a New Zealand office portfolio. There are contrasting reports on the potential value of the November float, with estimates ranging from $200m to $500m.

Elsewhere, APN News & Media is mulling a float of its New Zealand business, which includes ownership of the New Zealand Herald and The Radio Network. The possible divestment forms part of restructure plans at the media group, with Grant Samuel aiding the ASX-listed firm in an advisory role.

The potential NZ float comes as Quadrant Private Equity considers a $500m float of APN Outdoor on the ASX, less than a year after it bought out APN’s stake in the advertising group.

Another ASX firm potentially looking to pursue a new NZ listing is Scentre Group, with the firm all but confirming it’s in discussions with potential joint venture partners over a selection of its NZ malls. As discussed in this column yesterday, talks are believed to be underway with Government Investment Corporation of Singapore and Canada’s PSP over a possible 50 per cent stake in nine Westfield-branded NZ malls and if a deal cannot be reached, a $1bn float of the assets may instead be pursued.

In the broking sector, long-running rumours of an imminent tie-up of Wilson HTM and Shaw Stockbroking can be put to bed after Wilson said talks had broken down. Wilson indicated that despite both firms showing a desire to get a deal done, neither side saw the potential for an appropriate agreement to be reached in the near-term.

In retail, embattled fashion retailer Noni B is expected to this week announce a takeover offer after entering a trading halt last night ahead of a potential material transaction. The firm’s major shareholders, the Kindl family, had been expected to make a play for full control, though it appears the imminent deal will be from an external party.

After securing the green light from the Foreign Investment Review Board last week, Thailand’s BCP Energy is ready to badge its $110m takeover of Nido Petroleum unconditional once it clears the 50 per cent acceptance mark. BCP, which launched the bid a month ago, currently holds a 29.1 per cent stake.

Finally, more details have emerged in the legal spat between US-based Apache Energy and Seven Group, with the former arguing Seven deliberately subverted an agreement that would see Apache receive ‘right of first offer’ on a shareholding in highly prospective Texas oil ground.

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