Santos stalks wounded Oil Search

Original article by Perry Williams
The Australian – Page: 13 & 16 : 21-Jul-21

Allan Gray Australia’s MD Simon Mawhinney says the board of Oil Search must engage with Santos after the latter revealed on 20 July that it had proposed an all-scrip merger in late June. Oil Search rejected the offer of 0.589 new Santos shares for each of its shares, arguing that it represented a premium of just 6.8 per cent. Mark Samter of MST Marquee agrees that Oil Search directors should have engaged with Santos regarding the bid. Meanwhile, the position of Oil Search chairman Rick Lee is under scrutiny after he told an investor briefing on 19 July that it had not received any takeover approaches. Oil Search subsequently issued a clarification.

CORPORATES
OIL SEARCH LIMITED – ASX OSH, SANTOS LIMITED – ASX STO, ALLAN GRAY AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, MST MARQUEE

NAB eyes Citi’s retail in $2b deal

Original article by James Eyers
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 18 : 14-Jul-21

National Australia Bank has emerged as a potential buyer of Citigroup’s local consumer banking business. NAB has advised that it is holding talks with Citigroup but stresses that a deal may not eventuate. Citigroup has an 11 per cent share of Australia’s credit card market, making it the fifth-biggest player in the sector, while it holds $5.5bn worth of household deposits and some $6.6bn worth of home loans. Australian Competition & Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims recently indicated that it would closely scrutinise any bid for the Citigroup assets by one of the nation’s major banks.

CORPORATES
NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, CITIGROUP PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION

Seven closes in on control of Boral

Original article by Nick Evans
The Australian – Page: 13 & 16 : 9-Jul-21

Seven Group’s stake in Boral has risen to 40.95 per cent after the takeover target repurchased an additional $131m worth of its own shares on 8 July. Boral has now bought some $772.2m of its issued shares since launching a buyback program in April. The building materials group paid an average of $7.402 apiece for its latest tranche of shares, which is in line with Seven’s offer of $7.40 per share. An independent expert’s report has valued Boral’s shares at between $8.25 and $9.13. Seven’s takeover bid is scheduled to close on 15 July.

CORPORATES
BORAL LIMITED – ASX BLD, SEVEN GROUP HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX SVW

Price gap may trigger wave of oil, gas M&A

Original article by Angela Macdonald-Smith
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 12 & 14 : 7-Jul-21

Mark Busuttil of JP Morgan believes that some Australian-listed energy producers could become takeover targets due to the growing gap between oil and gas prices and their share prices. Potential targets could include Oil Search, Cooper Energy, Senex Energy and Carnarvon Petroleum. Busuttil says Beach Energy could potentially make a bid for Cooper Energy or Senex Energy, while he suggests that offshore players ExxonMobil and Total would be most likely to target Oil Search.

CORPORATES
OIL SEARCH LIMITED – ASX OSH, COOPER ENERGY LIMITED – ASX COE, SENEX ENERGY LIMITED – ASX SXY, CARNARVON PETROLEUM LIMITED – ASX CVN, EXXONMOBIL CORPORATION, TOTALENERGIES SE

Big super lobs $22b for nation’s biggest airport

Original article by Jenny Wiggins
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 16 : 6-Jul-21

A consortium comprising IFM Investors, QSuper and US-based Global Infrastructure Partners has made an unsolicited cash offer of $8.25 per share for Sydney Airport. The board of Sydney Airport has advised shareholders to take no action on the $22 billion bid and is still considering the offer. Unisuper, Sydney Airport’s biggest shareholder with a 15 per cent stake, has responded favourably to the bid. One condition of the consortium’s bid is that Unisuper retains its stake in Sydney Airport and not sell out for cash.

CORPORATES
SYDNEY AIRPORT – ASX SYD, IFM INVESTORS PTY LTD, QSUPER LIMITED, GLOBAL INFRASTRUCTURE PARTNERS, UNISUPER LIMITED

New Seven bid too low, Boral tells investors

Original article by Perry Williams
The Australian – Page: 15 : 2-Jul-21

Seven Group Holdings has increased its takeover bid for Boral to $7.30 per share after lifting its stake in the building materials group to the previously flagged threshold of 29.5 per cent. Seven had initially offered $6.50 per share, and its offer will rise to $7.40 if it gains 34.5 per cent of Boral by 7 July. Boral has described the revised offer as ‘ opportunistic’ and notes that an independent expert’s report has valued its shares at between $8.25 and $9.13.

CORPORATES
SEVEN GROUP HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX SVW, BORAL LIMITED – ASX BLD

Statewide, Hostplus in tie-up talks

Original article by Joyce Moullakis
The Australian – Page: 13 : 29-Jun-21

Superannuation funds Statewide Super and Hostplus have confirmed they are discussing a merger that would create a fund with assets of $77 billion. Statewide Super is based in Adelaide and has assets of $10.8 billion, while Hostplus has assets of $66 billion and has traditionally focused on workers in the hospitality, tourism, recreation and sports sectors. It recently announced plans to merge with the $3 billion Intrust Super, while the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority suggested in May that any super fund with assets under $30 billion would become increasingly uncompetitive against so-called megafunds.

CORPORATES
STATEWIDE SUPERANNUATION PTY LTD, HOST-PLUS, INTRUST SUPER FUND, AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY

Soul Patts in $11bn LIC merger

Original article by Cliona O’Dowd
The Australian – Page: 13 & 17 : 23-Jun-21

Shares in listed investment company Milton rose by as much as 16 per cent to $5.80 on 22 June after it was announced it would be merging with investment house Washington H. Soul Pattinson. Soul Patts, which already owns a three per cent stake in Milton, will acquire it in an all-scrip merger that will increase Soul Patts’ market capitalisation to $10.8 billion. Soul Patts owns major holdings in Australian Pharmaceutical Industries, Brickworks, TPG Telecom and New Hope Group, while both it and Milton are chaired by Robert Milner. Soul Patts CEO Todd Barlow says the merger will mean a larger war chest for future investments and increased portfolio diversification.

CORPORATES
MILTON CORPORATION LIMITED – ASX MLT, WASHINGTON H SOUL PATTINSON AND COMPANY LIMITED – ASX SOL, AUSTRALIAN PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRIES LIMITED – ASX API, BRICKWORKS LIMITED – ASX BKW, TPG TELECOM LIMITED – ASX TPG, NEW HOPE GROUP, NEW HOPE CORPORATION LIMITED – ASX NHC, WAM CAPITAL LIMITED – ASX WAM

Our biggest M&A boom: $83b and counting

Original article by James Thomson
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 35 : 9-Jun-21

Some market watchers believe that Australia’s mergers and acquisitions activity in 2021 could top the record $US134bn worth of deals in 2011. Data from Dealogic shows that some $US64.3bn ($82.8bn) worth of M&A deals have been announced in the year to date, compared with just $US56.9bn for the same period in 2011. The surge in M&A activity is being driven by factors such as strong balance sheets and access to low-cost debt, while the boards of target companies have become more willing to engage with suitors following a rebound in valuations in the wake of the pandemic.

CORPORATES
DEALOGIC (AUSTRALIA) PTY LTD

Mergers of super funds to cut costs

Original article by Joyce Moullakis
The Australian – Page: 17 : 21-May-21

Consolidation in Australia’s superannuation industry has increased in recent years, including the upcoming merger between LGIAsuper and Energy Super. The merged entity will have $22bn worth of assets under management, which will increase to $28bn when it completes a deal to acquire Suncorp’s wealth business. LGIAsuper CEO Kate Farrar believes that smaller funds will continue to have a role in the super industry, although she expects the average size of boutique funds to increase to between $30bn and $50bn.

CORPORATES
LGIASUPER, ENERGY SUPER