The M&A sector appears to have again cooled, if perhaps temporarily, but the IPO market is more than picking up the slack, with strong performances from new entrants ensuring the pipeline remains strong.
Elsewhere, another big name emerges at troubled toll road operator BrisConnections, investors jump back into Treasury Wine Estates’ stock amid takeover speculation, and BC Iron edges closer to control of target Iron Ore Holdings.
Software developer WiseTech Global could be a headline act for the IPO market next year as plans progress on a float that could value the firm at upwards of $1 billion. The freight and logistics software provider will meet investment banks next month, according to The Australian Financial Review, with Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Macquarie Capital and Credit Suisse seen among the frontrunner candidates for lucrative advisory roles.
A listing of WiseTech had been pencilled in for the fourth quarter of this year, but a looming acquisition may see it pushed back until the second quarter of 2015.
While WiseTech makes steady progress, another cloud-based services company, Urbanise.com, hit markets with a bang yesterday, surging 40 per cent in one of the most successful debuts for the year. The price jump sees the firm valued at close to $150 million.
Also in the IPO market, seafood group Huon Aquaculture has been tagged with a $340m-$458m valuation from Credit Suisse ahead of its IPO later this year.
Meanwhile, the plot continues to thicken at BrisConnections as Bain Capital’s distressed debt division, Sankaty Advisers, weighs a stake in the troubled toll road operator, according to the AFR. The news comes after hedge fund lenders recently picked up $1.5bn of debt in the firm at a time when leading BrisCon stockholder Macquarie Group is pushing back against a planned auction of the group.
In mining, BC Iron has extended the acceptances deadline for its $250m takeover of the Kerry Stokes-backed Iron Ore Holdings. BC is already well on the way to the 90 per cent compulsory acquisition threshold, securing 72.5 per cent of IOH ahead of the new deadline of October 14.
Elsewhere, investors yesterday piled into takeover target Treasury Wine Estates on speculation it was a good bet to be acquired next month, with the firm’s stock jumping over 2 per cent amid an otherwise depressed market. However, it remains well down on the $5.20 a share offer price from suitors KKR and TPG Capital, suggesting confidence is not high on the likely size of a winning bid.
In property, Mirvac Group is considered the frontrunner to claim the bulk of Altis Property Partners’ $350m Altis Real Estate Equity Partners 1 portfolio. There are 10 sites up for grabs as part of the property portfolio, with Colliers International running the auction.
Finally, the successful IPO of Alibaba has become the world’s largest ever after bankers opted to lift the size of the deal by 15 per cent to $US25.03bn ($27.8bn) on the back of strong demand. The largest float prior to Alibaba was the $US22.1bn listing of Agricultural Bank of China in 2010.