Ever wonder what came of Harry Triguboff’s 2014 exit plan at Meriton Apartments? Well, it seems the rich lister still has plans to cash in his chips in the near term, but only if an increasingly hefty price tag is met.
Elsewhere, QBE ramps up plans for a sale of part of its LMI business, Pepperstone presses pause on a first quarter IPO and doubts are raised about the future of the Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal.
Last year the market was abuzz with talk of Chinese interest in Harry Triguboff’s flagship Meriton Apartments business. The speculation has since cooled after an October declaration from the rich lister that his business would only be sold if an offer of $10 billion was forthcoming. While that price was considered optimistic by some, Triguboff appears even more bullish now, asserting the business is currently worth $12-$15bn.
It remains to be seen if any of the rumoured suitors -- Country Garden, China Vanke and Greenland Holdings -- share Triguboff’s view on Meriton’s valuation, with talks reportedly still ticking along even though a serious bid has yet to surface. The developer seems happy to play the waiting game but in a sign he remains a willing seller, he has outlined interest in a major investment in local water infrastructure.
In the IPO market, The Australian Financial Review reports that Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley have joined Goldman Sachs as advisers for QBE’s planned lenders mortgage insurance divestment. It is believed QBE will try and offload 30-40 per cent of the business through a $1bn listing in the first half of the year.
There’s more doubt about an IPO of forex broker Pepperstone as it again placed a float on the backburner amid recent carnage in the sector, which has made acquisitions a priority and stirred investor unease. The company officially said its $500 million listing had been ‘paused’ while it focused on M&A and it remains unclear whether an IPO will proceed later in the year.
In energy, there are plenty of question marks surrounding the future of the $2.6bn Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal as a buyer is sought for troubled coalminer Bandanna Energy, one of the miners with a take-or-pay commitment to the industry-owned terminal. Speculation suggests Bandanna’s WICET liabilities may amount to $1bn, which could leave likely suitors such as Glencore on the sideline.
In property, Dutch pension fund APG and the UK’s Scape Student Living have agreed a $220m student accommodation joint venture in Australia, according to the AFR. The deal is tipped to be announced today, with affluent students seen as the target market.
Elsewhere, the AFR reports that Link Market Services is chasing a $100-$150m acquisition of NZ-based Trustees Executors, but it may meet stiff resistance from ASX-listed Equity Trustees. Final bids are due by February 5.
Finally, Blackstone has offloaded the Gold Fields House property at Circular Quay to Dalian Wanda for $415m, ANZ Bank has launched a $750m hybrid bond issue and credit reporting and market research group Dun & Bradstreet could soon have new owners as indicative offers are sought this week for the $100m business, according to the AFR.