Recent forecasts for surging M&A activity in Australia could be on the money as prospects swell for a $6 billion sale of Harry Triguboff’s property empire and a $4 billion Alinta Energy transaction.
Elsewhere, Murray Goulburn delays its planned $500 million partial float, Woodside becomes a favourite in the race for Apache Energy’s Wheatstone shareholding and Orica appears unlikely to find a trade buyer for its non-mining chemicals division.
Lazard has been tapped by Alinta Energy’s owner TPG Capital to run a potential $4 billion auction of the power group in the first quarter of 2015, The Australian Financial Review reports. The timing is seen as crucial as TPG is keen to get a trade deal locked away before the mass selloff of state energy assets in NSW and Queensland.
Alinta, formerly owned by the WA government, has rebounded well since a TPG-led syndicate made a big bet on a $2.1bn debt-for-equity swap in 2011 and could draw bids from heavyweights AGL Energy, Origin Energy and EnergyAustralia.
An even bigger sale could be on the cards in the east as property billionaire Harry Triguboff has confirmed to Bloomberg that he is currently haggling over the value of Meriton with a Chinese suitor. Earlier this year it was reported that China Vanke and Country Garden had both shown interest in the $6bn-plus homebuilder, while Greenland Holdings has also been linked to a deal. Triguboff added he would not sell a partial stake, taking an ‘all or nothing’ approach.
Meanwhile, local dairy giant Murray Goulburn has delayed its planned $500m capital raising until the middle of next year, as it continues to chase support from its farmer shareholders. The co-operative is hoping to list a non-voting unit trust to raise the cash as it looks to diversify its funding structure in the wake of a failed bid for control of Warrnambool Cheese and Butter at the start of 2014.
In energy, WA-based oil & gas behemoth Woodside Petroleum is tipped as the favourite to snap up Apache Energy’s 13 per cent stake in Wheatstone LNG. According to the AFR, Woodside is leading a field of suitors that includes Petronas, Santos and PetroChina for the $2.4bn asset.
While Apache appears to be having little trouble drumming up interest, the same can’t be said for Orica, which has just seen Pacific Equity Partners withdraw from the $1bn race for its non-mining chemicals unit, according to the AFR. It leaves just Bain Capital and Blackstone preparing offers, with an IPO firming as the most likely option.
In the IPO market, APN News & Media’s planned spinoff of its NZ assets via a float may prove more challenging than it had hoped, with reports it could fail to draw investor interest at its current valuation. The firm is expected to offload 60 per cent of the business for about $150m.
Elsewhere, the Ingham family’s holiday parks offering, Tasman Lifestyle, is on track to list before Christmas with a valuation of as much as $129m.
In infrastructure, Adani Group’s sale of a stake in the controversial Abbot Point coal port has reportedly got off to a rocky start as few suitors have revealed their hand. Adani officially declared the asset up for sale yesterday, but is believed to have been chasing a buyer since July.
Finally, Doray Minerals has made a successful $36m bid for control of fellow gold mining minnow Mutiny Gold, while Crown Resorts and Echo Entertainment have confirmed their respective consortia have filed final bids to develop and run Brisbane’s second casino.