DataRoom AM: RHG crossroads

The battle for RHG may be decided by the Takeovers Panel, while Nine's float looks set for the start of December.

Resimac has put a call in to the Takeovers Panel to settle the dispute with fellow RHG suitor Pepper Australia over the matter of whose takeover offer for the mortgage lender is better. Meanwhile, the first two weeks of December are shaping up as Nine time, Andrew Forrest is buying yet more Fortescue Metals stock and Metals X is taking Alacer Gold’s Australian assets.

Resimac, Pepper Australia, Cadence Capital, RHG

The Takeovers Panel sometimes assumes the role that probably wouldn’t be out of place in a John Hughes movie in the 80s where it has to pick the guy that gets the girl.

Non-bank lender Resimac has advised that it will submit an application to the panel over a rival offer for home loan business RHG from Pepper Australia and Cadence Capital.

Resimac has put 49.5 cents a share in cash on the table for RHG, founded by John Kinghorn and formerly known to all of us as RAMS Home Loans. Pepper and Cadence are offering 36 cents a share and a one-for-10 share deal with Cadence.

In the post-GFC world we all know the arguments for and against. Pepper-Cadence are arguing that the value of Cadence stock combined with its smaller cash pile outweigh the RHG offer. RHG counters that its all-cash deal offers still-risk averse shareholders greater certainty than stock in an illiquid company like Cadence would.

Pepper-Cadence speaks for 17.1 per cent of the register and regardless of what happens, they’re hardly likely to support the Resimac deal.

Nine Entertainment

Nine Entertainment looks set for a relisting on the ASX in the first two weeks of December, with media reports indicating the broadcaster’s US hedge fund owners see that as a logical time for a float.

Oaktree Capital and Apollo Global Management are reportedly of the belief that lower interest rates and a rise in global sharemarkets in the pre-Christmas period will combine with stronger advertising markets and a newly elected federal government to make for ideal IPO conditions.

Nine looks headed for a value of $3 billion, though only $500 million to $1 billion worth of stock looks likely to be sold.

Oaktree and Apollo have some large positions in Nine that they bullied out of former owned CVC Asia Pacific.

While they largely speak for the network, there are more than 80 investors in Nine that will want to realise gains at some stage.

The key for Oaktree and Apollo is to keep as many people happy as possible, especially the soon-to-be-new shareholders in Nine when the float does come.

If the debut ended up being a flop (and there’s no reason why it would be by the way) it could saddle the US hedge funds with a long timeline to exit Nine.

Fortescue Metals Group

A rally of more than 60 per cent in the share price of Fortescue Metals Group hasn’t deterred founder and chairman Andrew Forrest from buying yet more stock in the iron ore miner.

Forrest has forked out another $23.6 million for 5,207,812 shares after bumping up his stake last week to the tune of $23 million.

These latest purchases take his stake to 32.78 per cent, which is valued at $4.81 billion on yesterday’s closing price.

In other news, Fortescue has responded to the death of a worker at its Christmas Creek mine last month by booting contractor Mineral Resources from the site and assuming control of two ore processing facilities,

The parent company of Mineral Resources, Crushing Services International, issued a statement saying that Fortescue had taken control of the site “for such a period of time as necessary to address its concerns”.

Kurt Williams, a New Zealand national employed by CSI, was the worker in question. Williams died while carrying out maintenance work.

Metals X, Alacer Gold

Alacer Gold is now free to focus on its Turkish operations after selling its Australian business to Metals X for $40 million.

The Australian Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) still needs to approve the transactions. But assuming all goes well, tin miner Metals X will assume control of Higginsville Gold Operations and South Kalgoorlie Gold Operations.

A deposit of $10 million has been paid.

The big question hanging over the transaction is the warning from Alacer last month that unless there was a “material improvement” in the price of hold, both arms would be idled for maintenance sometime in the next 12-18 months.

For what it’s worth, Metals X is confident that both mines will generate cash, saying that both will run on a “going concern basis, with no halt to gold production”.

Wrapping up

Perpetual has welcomed approval for its $247 million acquisition of The Trust Company from new Treasurer Joe Hockey.

The financial giant said in a statement that it has also been given the green light from the Monetary Authority of Singapore, which has a say over the changes to the structure of Trust Co (Asia).

Now Perpetual is only waiting on the New Zealand Overseas Investment Office. Well, that and Trust Co shareholders.

Elsewhere, Nine Entertainment looks like to raise a glass later this year over a return to the ASX. Perhaps they could raise said glasses at an ASX floated pub.

The Australian Financial Review understands that Citigroup is working with the backers of Australian Pub Fund on a $180 million sharemarket listing before the end of the year.

Former Qantas boss Geoff Dixon chairs the fund.

And finally, The Australian understands that US private equity firm Platinum Equity has talked to ASX-listed mining equipment rental company Emeco Holdings about a takeover.

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