Morgan emerges as possible AAP buyer

Original article by Leo Shanahan
The Australian – Page: 21 : 23-Mar-20

Roy Morgan’s executive chairman Gary Morgan has expressed interest in buying the whole of Australian Associated Press, but only if the news wire service is a "viable business proposition". Morgan notes that AAP would have to be a "a very different company" without Nine Entertainment and News Corp Australia as customers, given that they account for about 60 per cent of its revenue. Media reports have indicated that a number of parties have expressed interest in buying some of AAP’s businesses, although CEO Bruce Davidson stresses that a deal may not eventuate. AAP is slated to shut down in June unless a buyer emerges.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN ASSOCIATED PRESS PTY LTD, ROY MORGAN LIMITED, NINE ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NEC, NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

Forrest in $68m renewables play takeover

Original article by Nick Evans
The Australian – Page: 20 : 5-Mar-20

Squadron Energy, the private company of mining magnate Andrew Forrest, has made a takeover bid for Windlab, a listed wind farm developer and operator. Squadron has teamed up with Federation Asset Management to offer $1 per share for Windlab, valuing the bid at $68.2m. Windlab shares rallied on 4 March, closing at $0.965; investors had paid $2 per share in its 2017 IPO. Squadron is expected to have a 75 per cent stake in Windlab if the deal proceeds.

CORPORATES
WINDLAB LIMITED – ASX WND, SQUADRON ENERGY PTY LTD, FEDERATION ASSET MANAGEMENT PTY LTD

Epidemic will create merger and acquisition opportunities

Original article by Joyce Moullakis
The Australian – Page: 17 & 19 : 24-Feb-20

Tony Damian of law firm Herbert Smith Freehills expects mergers and acquisitions activity in the Asia-Pacific region to remain strong in 2020. This is despite challenges such as the coronavirus outbreak. Damian forecasts that private equity firms and superannuation funds will be a major driver of M&A activity in Australia during 2020. Meanwhile, data from Refinitiv shows that the value of announced M&A deals in Australia has topped $US14.8bn in the year to date, compared with just $US5.4bn at the same time in 2019.

CORPORATES
HERBERT SMITH FREEHILLS PTY LTD, REFINITIV AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

TPG-Vodafone merger victory

Original article by Jared Lynch
The Australian – Page: 19 & 24 : 14-Feb-20

Federal Court Justice John Middleton ruled on 13 February that the $15 billion merger between Vodafone and TPG should be allowed to proceed. The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission had vetoed the merger in May on the grounds that it would leave market power in the hands of three big telcos, but Justice Middleton said leaving Vodafone and TPG as separate entities would not create more competition in the retail mobile market. Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said the merger is likely to benefit consumers and lead to greater competition.

CORPORATES
TPG TELECOM LIMITED – ASX TPM, VODAFONE AUSTRALIA LIMITED, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, TELSTRA CORPORATION LIMITED – ASX TLS, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF COMMUNICATIONS AND THE ARTS

Rio’s Kakadu uranium takeover faces blocking stake

Original article by Peter Ker
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 16 : 11-Feb-20

Zentree Investments has confirmed it will take part in a $476 million equity raising by Energy Resources Australia (ERA). ERA plans to use the money raised from the issue of new shares to finance the rehabiliation of uranium assets in the Northern Territory. Rio Tinto owns 68.39 per cent of ERA, and could boost its stake to over 90 per cent through the capital raising, as most of ERA’s minority shareholders are not expected to participate. This would allow it to move to move to compulsorily acquire the remaining ERA shares. Zentree currently owns 15.94 per cent of ERA, and can keep its stake at above 10 per cent if it buys around $48 million worth of new shares.

CORPORATES
ZENTREE INVESTMENTS, ENERGY RESOURCES OF AUSTRALIA LIMITED – ASX ERA, RIO TINTO LIMITED – ASX RIO

Cat strikes back at weak Domain

Original article by Leo Shanahan
The Australian – Page: 24 & 26 : 3-Feb-20

Australian Community Newspapers’ owners Antony Catalano and Alex Waislitz have paid about $10m for a 33 per cent stake in Realestateview.com.au. Catalano will join the board of the unlisted classified advertising group. Realestateview.com.au CEO Toby Balazs notes that combining its property listings with ACN’s portfolio of regional newspapers means it will have a digital audience of 5.4 million. Catalano expects the new venture to be a serious rival to Domain, although he concedes that Realstate.com.au is likely to remain the leading player in the sector.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN COMMUNITY MEDIA, REALESTATEVIEW.COM.AU LIMITED, DOMAIN HOLDINGS AUSTRALIA LIMITED – ASX DHA, REALESTATE.COM.AU, REA GROUP LIMITED – ASX REA, NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS, NINE ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NEC

Bauer boss urges ACCC: think digital

Original article by Leo Shanahan
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 23 : 27-Jan-20

Bauer Media Australian CEO Brendon Hill has urged the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission to approve the proposed $40m merger with Pacific Magazines. The ACCC’s statement of issues identified concerns such as the potential for the prices of some magazines to rise and for their quality to decline. Hill is disappointed that the ACCC chose to focus on four titles, and he argues that the magazine market is much broader. He has also rejected suggestions that Bauer would discontinue some Pacific titles.

CORPORATES
BAUER MEDIA AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, PACIFIC MAGAZINES PTY LTD, SEVEN WEST MEDIA LIMITED – ASX SWM, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION

Bauer chief determined to proceed with $40m Pac Mags deal with Seven

Original article by Zoe Samios
The Sydney Morning Herald – Page: Online : 24-Jan-20

Bauer Media Australia CEO Brendon Hill has stressed that the group’s proposed acquisition of Pacific Magazines is in the interests of the magazine industry. He adds that Bauer and its German parent are fully committed to the $40m deal to buy Pacific from Seven West Media. He has rejected suggestions that Mercury Capital’s withdrawal of its offer to acquire Bauer Media Australia will affect the Pacific deal. The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission expressed concern in late 2019 about the potential impact of the merger on competition in the magazine sector.

CORPORATES
BAUER MEDIA AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, PACIFIC MAGAZINES PTY LTD, MERCURY CAPITAL PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, SEVEN WEST MEDIA LIMITED – ASX SWM, BAUER MEDIA KG

Mercury gives up on Bauer buyout

Original article by Lilly Vitorovich, Leo Shanahan
The Australian – Page: 17 : 23-Jan-20

Bauer Media Australia CEO Brendon Hill has confirmed that private equity firm Mercury Capital has withdrawn its offer to acquire the magazine publisher. Hill added that Bauer is open to another approach from the private equity sector if the company’s proposed merger with Pacific Magazines goes ahead. The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission recently expressed concern about the potential impact of the merger on competition in the magazine sector.

CORPORATES
BAUER MEDIA AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, PACIFIC MAGAZINES PTY LTD, MERCURY CAPITAL PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, SEVEN WEST MEDIA LIMITED – ASX SWM

EMR plots production boost

Original article by Peter Ker
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 18 : 16-Jan-20

A consortium headed by private equity firm EMR Capital has acquired the Ravenswood gold mine in Queensland from Resolute Mining. Production costs at Ravenswood averaged more than $2,000 an ounce in the first half of 2019; gold is currently trading at around $2,200 an ounce in Australian dollar terms, and around $US1,551 an ounce. EMR Capital is confident that plans to increase production will enable the mine to remain profitable even if the gold price falls below $US1,300 an ounce.

CORPORATES
RESOLUTE MINING LIMITED – ASX RSG, EMR CAPITAL PTY LTD