DataRoom AM: Mysterious MMG

MMG keeps its options open on potential acquisitions, while Sterling Education is poised for a raise.

MMG boss Andrew Michelmore could be interested in this asset or that. Maybe BHP Nickel, maybe not. He's always looking.

Meanwhile, Sterling Education is back on the raising train, Lynas is expected to raise before the end of the financial year, with Vocus having raised yesterday. And Nexus Energy needs a deal -- any deal -- real soon.

MMG chief executive Andrew Michelmore has typically kept his options open in relation to BHP Billiton’s Western Australian nickel business.

He also declined to comment on MMG’s leading role in a consortium to purchase Glencore Xstrata’s $US6 billion Las Bambas copper project in Peru, but did say any M&A opportunities would go through the company’s “filters”.

Speaking to The Australian after the Chinese state-controlled company’s results, Mr Michelmore said, "We look at lots of (merger and acquisition) opportunities but we don't want to destroy value."

Perhaps a backhanded compliment of sorts -- although he did say that MMG “really likes copper” … and “certainly we like nickel sulphides”.

Elsewhere, Sterling Early Education will reportedly raise $200 million today (Thursday) after tweaking its prospectus forecasts.

The Australian Financial Review reports that the company needed just two days with its advisers Macquarie Capital to look over February trading data.

Speaking of raisings, analysts expect Lynas will have to raise equity before the end of the financial year, according to the AFR.

“We continue to believe that the company will require further equity and debt-refinancing to better align the capital structure with the ongoing operational ramp-up, which is taking longer than expected,” Deutsche Bank analysts told clients, the newspaper reports.

Vocus Communications has raised $48.7m from the sale of new shares to institutionals with the help of Credit Suisse. The bookbuild was oversubscribed.

The company says it will use the proceeds to strengthen its balance sheet and maybe, just maybe, put a coin or two towards an acquisition down the track.

Things are getting serious over at Nexus Energy, which is trying to avoid bankruptcy with a long-awaited corporate deal or asset sale.

Nexus is grappling with an $US80m ($89m) legal claim and a production outage at the same time, having suddenly lost its chairman, Seven Group Holdings chief executive Don Voelte, last week due to a potential conflict of interest.

The Australian brings speculation from the market that the Seven Group billionaire is looking at doing a deal of sorts with Nexus. Wowsers!

Fairfax Media’s second largest shareholder, fund manager Allan Gray, has trimmed its stake in the media company to 9.3 per cent from 10.4 per cent.

Allan Gray’s Simon Marais has given his views on Fairfax’s strategic position on a number of occasions, but this move doesn’t appear to be anything more than a trim.

And finally, there’s more than enough AustralianSuper going around Australia for funding targets, with $75bn under management.

But the super fund’s head of property, Jack McGougan, told The Australian the fund is aiming to have $100bn under it by 2016 and a $10bn property portfolio. There’s gotta be an Aussie deal in there somewhere.

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