DataRoom AM: MYOB leads the IPO charge

Accounting software group MYOB could soon hit ASX boards, while car leasing group FleetPartners is also eyeing a first-half listing.

MYOB is slated to kick-start the IPO market in 2015, with hopes growing the accounting software group will hit ASX boards in coming months at a valuation of $3 billion.

Elsewhere, Infigen Energy draws the attentions of a Malaysian suitor, AGL’s Moranbah sale stalls, Macquarie Group looks to divest a US-based unit and STW Communications is again drawn into buyout speculation.

Bain Capital’s Australian-based accounting software group MYOB appears certain to list in the first half of the year provided markets don’t enter a sustained downtrend. According to The Australian Financial Review, advisers Bank of America Merrill LynchUBSCiti and Goldman Sachs will discuss the planned IPO with fund managers next week ahead of an end of first quarter listing.

The report suggested Bain would sell as much as $1bn worth of stock into the float at a valuation of about $3bn in what could prove to be the biggest float of 2015.

Fellow IPO candidate FleetPartners is also pressing forward with a listing as advisers UBS, Credit Suisse and Citi test market interest in a $600 million float. The car leasing group, owned by Ironbridge Capital and Singapore’s GIC, could hit markets sometime between late February and mid-April.

Meanwhile, Infigen Energy is the latest Babcock and Brown offshoot to draw the M&A spotlight as a Malaysian investor reportedly circles the renewable energy company. The rumoured takeover interest comes despite the ASX-listed Infigen enduring a rough period as uncertainty reigns over the renewable energy target. Still, the Malaysian-based suitor, which is believed to already be an Infigen shareholder, sees opportunity amid the haze.

The development comes as another former Babcock unit, Alinta Energy, continues preparations for a $4bn auction, with sale documents to be sent out to interested parties later this month.

Also in energy, AGL’s plan to sell its Moranbah CSG assets appears to be on the backburner as talk of a deal has gone quiet since it was put on the auction block five months ago. The initial $1bn valuation on the assets is likely falling as a price slump grips the energy sector, reducing the chances of a deal in the short-term.

Elsewhere, the AFR reports that takeover speculation is again stirring at the ASX-listed STW Communications Group after leading shareholder WPP lifted its stake from 21.2 per cent to 22.4 per cent. Global ad giant WPP has long been seen as a suitor for the $350m STW but has previously denied interest in a takeover despite its substantial shareholding.

Offshore, Macquarie Group is welcoming bids for its US-based equipment finance operation over the coming fortnight. The local investment bank could secure over $400m through the sale of Macquarie Equipment Finance, a firm it bought seven years ago for an undisclosed sum.

Finally, the nation’s first chocolate manufacturer, Ernest Hillier, is up for sale after entering voluntary administration this week, local employment firms Chandler McLeod and Peoplebank accept takeover offers from Japan’s Recruit Holdings, and National Vet Care has reportedly tapped Wilson HTM and Shaw Stockbroking to run a possible $40m IPO.