DataRoom AM: Medibank's IPO injection

The health insurer has been valued by investment banks at up to $5.7bn, while law firm Spruson & Ferguson is pressing ahead with its own IPO.

The IPO market looks set to end arguably its best year since the financial crisis with a bang, despite rising market volatility. And the greatest celebrations could be reserved for the federal government amid hopes the float of Medibank Private will raise more than $5 billion.

Elsewhere, the potential for a strong 2015 in the IPO market is also high, Noni B’s board implores shareholders to take the money and run and the takeover fight for Treasury Wine Estates ends with a whimper.

Medibank Private has been valued as high as $5.7 billion by investment banks in charge of the nation’s biggest float since QR National (now Aurizon) in 2010. Macquarie Capital, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs have offered a wide valuation range of $4.1bn to $5.7bn, which incidentally is Goldman’s valuation exactly. Deutsche and Macquarie were more specific, with the former delivering a $4.2bn-$5.3bn estimate and the latter putting forward a range of $4.8bn to $5.6bn. It leaves $5bn as a strong target ahead of the company hitting ASX boards in December.

Law firm Spruson & Ferguson is also pressing forward on a 2014 listing, undertaking a roadshow ahead of a December float that could value the company at $300 million. The IPO will see it join Slater & Gordon and Shine as the only law firms on the ASX. It comes as GPT Group receives strong interest in its $255m float of GPT Metro Office Fund, according to The Australian Financial Review. The business park spinoff is slated to join the ASX on October 24.

Meanwhile, mobile provider Amaysim is hunting a listing of its own, calling on Investec and Reunion Capital Partners to guide it towards a $400m IPO. However, it is happy to wait until 2015 before pulling the trigger, according to the AFR. Another big name IPO candidate, Hoyts Group, could also hold off on a $900m float until next year, with speculation heading in different directions as to the timing of a deal.

In retail, the board of Noni B has urged shareholders to accept a $16.4 million takeover proposal from Alceon Group. The rate of take-up from investors has been slow, but while the bid is hardly generous, Noni B warns it’s a better alternative to the heavily dilutive capital raisings that will be required should it fall through.

In resources, struggling former market darling Lynas has found the funding to avoid a catastrophic near-term collapse, but the AFR reports that the $83m raising could come back to bite as a US-based fund linked to distressed debt opportunities is rumoured to be involved.

Elsewhere, Champ Private Equity has tapped Credit Suisse to offload equipment financing group Alleasing, according to the AFR. A deal, which could value the firm at more than $300m, may be wrapped up before Christmas.

Finally, speculation of a $3.4bn takeover offer from KKR for Treasury Wine Estates being backed by the target’s board was well wide of the mark, with talks called off yesterday. Investors were not pleased, sending TWE stock down 8 per cent.