Factbox-Record-low rates spur Australia M&A frenzy in 2021

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Australian casino giant Crown Resorts Ltd adorns the hotel and casino complex in Melbourne, Australia
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Australian casino giant Crown Resorts Ltd adorns the hotel and casino complex in Melbourne, Australia, June 13, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Reed

July 20, 2021

(Reuters) -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 in March agreed to a A$3.5 billion ($2.61 billion) takeover offer from a consortium of a Macquarie fund and pension fund Aware Super.

Orocobre – Galaxy Resources

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

BINGO Industries – Macquarie

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

Tilt Renewables – PowAR/Mercury NZ

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

Tabcorp – Entain/Apollo Global/Betmakers

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

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

Crown Resorts – Blackstone/Star Entertainment

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

Oaktree Capital Group is also in the race for Crown.

Washington H Soul Pattinson – Milton Corp

Australia’s Washington H Soul Pattinson said in June it will buy Milton Corp 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 said in May it would buy British peer Spire Healthcare 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 offered to buy shares it does not already own in Boral, 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, the country’s third-largest lender, said in July it was in talks with Citigroup 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. 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 received a A$4.91 billion ($3.67 billion) takeover bid from a consortium including KKR and Canada’s Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board.

Oil Search – Santos

Papua New Guinea-focused oil and gas producer Oil Search in July rejected Santos Ltd’s A$8.80 billion ($6.5 billion) bid, but said it was open to revised offer.

(Compiled by Shashwat Awasthi; Editing by Arun Koyyur)