DataRoom AM: Tempting Ten

Another overseas suitor takes a fancy to Ten Network, while doubts emerge over the the sale of Harry Triguboff’s Meriton.

This column warned you that rumours about the future of Ten Network were going to come thick and fast in the lead up to a reported bid deadline of late November and so it appears as Time Warner joins the likes of Providence, Fairfax Media, Foxtel and Discovery Communications among lengthening list of prospective buyers.

Elsewhere, questions remain over the sale of Harry Triguboff’s Meriton, a float of Aconex returns to the immediate market agenda and Genworth Australia becomes the subject of block trade rumours.

Another US cable giant has reportedly run the ruler over besieged local media player Ten Network, with Time Warner weighing a $680 million takeover play, according to The Australian Financial Review. The new suitor reportedly sent a letter to Ten adviser Citi in early October outlining its interest in a deal, though a binding offer was not put forward.

Time Warner -- which may have offered a preliminary 25c a share, short of Friday’s 27c close -- adds to the growing list of prospective buyers, which already includes Fairfax MediaDiscovery Communications (in combination with Foxtel) and Providence Equity Partners. US-based Hellman & Friedman and Anchorage Capital are also linked as Citi seeks offers by the end of the month.

In the IPO market, the float of Aconex may be back on the agenda after seemingly falling by the wayside last month. The construction software developer has gone back to the drawing board, according to the AFR, and will seek less from investors in a bid to get the float away.

Another IPO candidate, online retailer Aussie Commerce, has postponed its float, with a deal now slated for 2015 provided market condition are favourable.

In property, a deal for Harry Triguboff’s Meriton empire remains up in the air as the AFR reports that the rich lister may not be keen to commit to a multi-year contract to stay at the firm through any post-sale transition, while Chinese suitors are considered wary about the latest $10 billion pricetag.

Meanwhile, Ferrovial is expected to hold meetings this week with its $1bn takeover target Transfield to further its due diligence access. The suitor is particularly concerned about being forced to waive its rights for a hostile bid in order to receive key contract details, the AFR reports.

In finance, Genworth Financial’s recent financial issues have set tongues wagging about the prospect of it pursuing a block trade of part of its stake in Genworth Australia as soon as its stake comes out of escrow in February. Genworth Australia’s US parent retained 66 per cent of the firm when it listed earlier this year.

Elsewhere, Alceon is mulling a sale of its modular park business. A valuation of $300m has been ascribed to the business amid talks with US-based trailer park group Sun Communitiesand American Land Lease communities, while an IPO could be pursued if offers are deemed unpalatable.

Finally, Pacific Equity Partners appears to have aborted high-profile plans to list $900m cinema business Hoyts, while the AFR reports that NAB has confirmed it will weigh a sale of its life insurance division as a number of options are considered to improve the division. 

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