DataRoom AM: Westfield’s French connection

A leading European commercial property outfit is showing interest in the restructured Westfield, while Telstra is reportedly close to offloading Trading Post.

Westfield Group's post-restructure status as a takeover target has been enhanced by reported interest out of France.

Meanwhile, Telstra is reportedly getting close, once again, to offloading Trading Post, while there's also a bevy of media handshakes this morning.

Shopping centre giant Westfield Group is in the sights of a French company looking to expand its business in the US.

According to The Australian, reports from The Netherlands indicate Unibail-Rodamco, which was formed from the 2007 merger of France’s Unibail and Dutch mall owner Rodamco, is ‘running the numbers’ on the Australian retail property giant.

Westfield firmed as an M&A target following its restructure that housed its Australian shopping centre assets in a separate listed company, Scentre.

Telstra looks poised to cop an almighty haircut on its $636 million investment in Trading Post, with the license holder of the brand reportedly in talks to buy the iconic classifieds platform for perhaps less than $10 million.

The Australian Financial Review reports the discussions are ongoing and could take another six months to complete.

In 2012, Telstra tried to offload Trading Post onto Carsales.com, but the consumer watchdog blocked the move.

In media, John Singleton’s Macquarie Radio Network has tapped former managing director Rob Loewenthal to sell some stations, including Sydney’s 2CH, to make way for the $200 million merger with Fairfax Media’s radio arm.

Fairfax Media, which carries the MRN story this morning, is also reporting Lachlan Murdoch has quietly dumped Nova Entertainment’s loss-making music-streaming joint venture with Rdio.

Still in media, Nine Network has breathed some life into its deteriorating relationship with Mail Online Australia after the British newspaper threatened to walk away from the partnership.

According to The Australian, sources indicate the Mail’s publisher convinced Nine to reduce its 25 per cent commission, written into its sales contracts, to 15 per cent. This will put pressure on Nine’s advertising revenues, but for the moment it appears to have saved the partnership from an increasingly likely, and premature, end.

And Seven Group increased its stake in Beach Energy, according to The Australian. However, sources indicate Kerry Stokes’s company is only interested in being a passive member of the Beach register.

Macquarie Group is in discussions to purchase the commodities and financial derivatives brokerage of US investment bank Jefferies Group, three sources have told Reuters.

Macquarie is one of a number of suitors circling the unit, according to the newswire.

Finally, former Santos chairman Stephen Gerlach and current IOOF chairman Roger Sexton are reportedly preparing to float their premium food and beverages company, aimed at China, on the Australian Stock Exchange.

Dr Sexton would not be drawn into a discussion about individual businesses within the Beston Global Food Company folder, according to AFR. But he did say, “A public listing is planned in the near term”.