DataRoom AM: Triguboff's Chinese chatter

More details about Harry Triguboff’s negotiations to sell Meriton Group emerge, while Gina Rinehart reignites speculation about a merger between Ten and Fairfax.

Rich-lister Harry Triguboff surprised the market by upping the valuation on his flagship business to an optimistic $10 billion last week – and the move may have drawn his Chinese suitor out into the limelight.

Elsewhere, the Fairfax-Ten merger rumours surface once more, Medibank Private looks to America to boost its float and a member of the Smorgan Steel dynasty puts his packaging firm on the market.

It appears that Country Garden is the frontrunner in the race to purchase Australia’s largest homebuilder, Meriton Group, after its local chief outlined discussions with Meriton owner Harry Triguboff. According to The Australian Financial Review, Country Garden’s Australian boss has confirmed he has held several meetings with Triguboff about a takeover, though the two firms appear a distance away on the $10bn price tag put forward by Meriton.

“What he says in public may not be the actual amount in the end. Meriton doesn’t have public information so we cannot comment whether $10bn is good or not,” Zhang said.

China Vanke and Greenland Holdings have also been linked to a bid for Meriton.

Another local rich-lister is also in the M&A spotlight this morning, with the focus on Gina Rinehart’s decision to step down from the board of Ten Network given rumours of merger talks between Ten and Fairfax Media. Rinehart, a major shareholder in both firms, is believed keen on a tie-up of the two companies and her move to resign is viewed by some as a push to calm conflict of interest concerns.

In the IPO market, advisors on the $5bn float of Medibank Private are in the US this week to enhance offshore interest in the biggest float on the ASX for at least four years. Bankers have already seen strong interest from Asian investors and plan to drum up support in Europe after the US trip concludes.

The final price for the closely watched float will be announced on November 25 after a three-day bookbuild.

Another IPO candidate heading to the States is online appliance retailer Winning Group, which will look to draw US investors into its float by registering for a 114A offer in the US, according to the AFR. However, the Appliances Online owner is set to hold off on its ASX listing until next year.

Also in the IPO market, KKR-backed healthcare provider GenesisCare is believed to be tilting towards an IPO in the first quarter of next year. According to the AFR, the firm could list with a valuation of $700 million, which represents a more than 15 per cent boost to the $600m valuation ascribed to the business when KKR acquired 63 per cent two years’ ago.

Elsewhere, Barry Smorgan has asked advisory firm Grant Samuel to test the market’s appetite on a sale of his packaging firm Jalco. The potential $100m auction is seen attracting a number of trade buyers, though investment banks will be tapped to run a float early next year should a deal not be reached in coming months.

Finally, private equity firm Next Capital has secured $200m for its next fund at a time when local investors are increasingly looking to offshore private equity firms, while Centuria Property Funds has accelerated the timeline for its $180m spinoff Centuria Metropolitan REIT, with a $114m raising to close a week ahead of the original November 13 deadline, the AFR reports.

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