Record-Low Rates Spur Australia M&A Frenzy In 2021

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Australia is seeing a flurry of deal-making so far this year, as record-low interest rates have given institutional investors and companies a well-funded war chest to chase higher valuations.

From potentially one of Australia’s biggest-ever buyouts to a multi-party tussle for a troubled casino giant, here are some of the major deals Down Under in 2021:

Vocus Group – Macquarie/Aware Super

Vocus Group (VOC.AX) in March agreed to a A$3.5 billion ($2.61 billion) takeover offer from a consortium of a Macquarie (MQG.AX) fund and pension fund Aware Super.

Orocobre – Galaxy Resources

Orocobre Ltd (ORE.AX) in April agreed to buy Galaxy Resources (GXY.AX) for $1.4 billion to create the world’s fifth most valuable lithium producer.

BINGO Industries – Macquarie

Waste management firm BINGO Industries (BIN.AX) in April agreed to a A$2.3 billion ($1.72 billion) buyout offer from funds managed by Macquarie (MQG.AX).

Tilt Renewables – PowAR/Mercury NZ

New Zealand-listed Tilt Renewables (TLT.NZ) in April agreed to a NZ$3.07 billion ($2.15 billion) bid from a consortium including AGL Energy (AGL.AX), Australia’s sovereign wealth fund, and Mercury NZ (MCY.NZ).

Tabcorp – Entain/Apollo Global/Betmakers

UK’s Entain (ENT.L) in February offered to buy betting firm Tabcorp Holdings’ (TAH.AX) wagering and media business. In April, it sweetened its offer to A$3.5 billion ($2.61 billion).

In May, Apollo Global Management (APO.N) matched Entain’s offer, and BetMakers Technology (BET.AX) jumped in with a A$4 billion ($2.98 billion) bid.

Altium – Autodesk

Software maker Altium (ALU.AX) in June rejected a $3.9 billion takeover bid from U.S. peer Autodesk Inc (ADSK.O), but kept the door open for a higher offer.

Crown Resorts – Blackstone/Star Entertainment

Casino giant Crown Resorts (CWN.AX) in March received a A$8 billion ($5.97 billion) buyout proposal from Blackstone (BX.N) and a A$9 billion ($6.71 billion) all-stock offer from peer Star Entertainment Group (SGR.AX) in May.

Oaktree Capital Group (OAK_pa.N) is also in the race for Crown.

Washington H Soul Pattinson – Milton Corp

Australia’s Washington H Soul Pattinson (SOL.AX) said in June it will buy Milton Corp (MLT.AX) in a deal that values the target at A$4.05 billion ($3.02 billion).

Ramsay Health Care – Spire Healthcare

Hospital operator Ramsay Health Care (RHC.AX) said in May it would buy British peer Spire Healthcare (SPI.L) for 1 billion pounds ($1.38 billion).

In July, Ramsay sweetened its bid to 1.04 billion pounds ($1.44 billion).

Boral – Seven Group

In May, diversified investor Seven Group (SVW.AX) offered to buy shares it does not already own in Boral (BLD.AX), valuing the building materials supplier at $6.23 billion.

In July, Seven raised its offer to A$8.75 billion ($6.53 billion), which was rejected.

National Australia Bank – Citigroup

National Australia Bank (NAB.AX), the country’s third-largest lender, said in July it was in talks with Citigroup (C.N) to buy the U.S. bank’s Australian consumer business.

Sydney Airport – Sydney Aviation Alliance

A consortium called Sydney Aviation Alliance in July made a A$22.26 billion ($16.61 billion) play for Sydney Airport Holdings (SYD.AX). If the deal goes through, it will be one of the biggest ever in Australia.

Spark Infrastructure – KKR/Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board

In July, Spark Infrastructure (SKI.AX) received a A$4.91 billion ($3.67 billion) takeover bid from a consortium including KKR (KKR.N) and Canada’s Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board.

($1 = 1.3405 Australian dollars)

($1 = 1.4269 New Zealand dollars)

($1 = 0.7225 pounds)

– Reuters

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