Features

Australia’s ANZ scales back businesses in Asia

After years of expansion efforts in Asia, the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) is making a U-turn by cutting back on its operations in the region. Last week, the banking group announced it would offload its 20.0 per cent interest in Shanghai Rural Commercial Bank (SRBC) for CNY 9,190 million (USD 1,328 million), which represents about 1.1 times the target’s net assets as at December 2015. Shanghai Sino-Poland Enterprise Management Development and Chinese shipping company China COSCO will each take a 10 per cent stake in the commercial bank. Being assisted by Goldman Sachs, the vendor aims to complete the sale by the middle of this year.

Baidu’s video site seeks billion dollar IPO

Baidu’s iQiyi is planning a USD 1,000 million listing, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported last month, as the online search giant sets its eyes on China’s booming video on demand industry. The IPO, which may take place in either the US or Hong Kong next year, could value the video platform at up to USD 5,000 million, according to the newspaper. This is well in excess of the USD 2,800 million offered by Baidu’s co-founder Robin Li and iQiyi’s chief executive Gong Yu earlier to buy an 80.5 per cent stake in iQiyi. Their proposal was later terminated as it failed to satisfy Baidu’s shareholders, which included hedge fund Acacia Partners. In addition to the IPO, iQiyi is reportedly looking to raise funds via a pre-initial public offering transaction by issuing convertible bonds or other similar securities. According to Reuters, however, Baidu denied reports of such deals being in the pipeline.

Softbank invests in satellite network provider after Trump meeting

Japanese telecommunications giant Softbank is injecting USD 1,000 million in OneWeb, a Virginia-based company that uses satellites to provide rural areas with affordable high-speed internet access. The target’s existing investors are also participating in the funding round and will invest a further USD 200 million. Pending regulatory approvals, the transaction is expected to close in the first quarter next year.

Australia’s Crown Resorts plans Macau exit amid graft crackdown

Crown Resorts, Australia’s largest gaming group, is offloading part of its holdings in Melco Crown, a Macau-focused casino operator listed on Nasdaq. Hong Kong-based Melco International Development, which jointly formed the target with Crown Resorts in 2004, expects to take over a 13.4 per cent interest from its partner for approximately USD 1,188 million. This will reduce Crown Resorts’ stake in Melco Crown to 14.0 per cent.

Tycoon Li Ka Shing pursues another Australian energy firm

After failing to acquire power transmission firm Ausgrid months ago, Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka Shing is giving Australia’s lucrative energy sector another shot. This time he is pinning his hopes on Duet Group with a takeover offer worth around AUD 7.30 billion (USD 5.44 billion). His flagship company Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings this week proposed to purchase each share in the utility firm for AUD 3.00, representing a 27.7 per cent premium over the target’s closing price on 2nd December, the last trading day prior to the deal being announced. The news fueled investor enthusiasm, causing Duet Group’s shares to close 16.6 per cent higher on 5th December.

Chinese couriers sort through M&A, IPOs in 2016

Black Friday. Cyber Monday. Singles’ Day. (For those not in the know the latter being not just the largest single-day e-commerce retail event in China but, reportedly, the largest globally). Also, do not forget the run-up to Christmas when some consumers forego traditional brick-and-mortar shopping for the ease of clicking and buying presents from the comfort of a couch.

Anbang in the headlines

Anbang Insurance is the acquisitive holding company that not only has an opaque ownership structure but has also hit the headlines numerous times recently. 

Danish toymaker features in November’s angel investments

In November 2016 to date there have been 16 European angel investments worth a combined EUR 65 million, according to Zephyr, the M&A database published by Bureau van Dijk. It is worth noting that at the time of writing there are still nine days to go until the end of the month, meaning comparisons with previous months will not be on a like-for-like basis.

Boral bets on Trump’s infrastructure plan

Construction materials manufacturer Boral is carrying out its largest-ever investment by acquiring Nasdaq-listed Headwater for around USD 2,600 million as President-elect Donald J. Trump, who will take office in January, seeks to ramp up spending on infrastructure. The Australian firm is offering to buy each share for USD 24.25, a 20.7 per cent premium over Headwater’s close on 18th November. As a result, the target’s equity jumped 17.1 per cent to close at USD 23.52 following the announcement.

Estée Lauder seeks to court millennials

Having missed sales estimates, makeup group Estée Lauder is spicing up its portfolio by acquiring Too Faced Cosmetics, whose quirkily-named products, such as Better Than Sex mascara and Chocolate Bar eye shadow palettes, are popular with youngsters. Private equity firm General Atlantic and married co-founders Jeremy Johnson and Jerrod Blandino are expected to exit by the end of the year. Valued at around USD 1,450 million, the acquisition is by far Estée Lauder’s largest-ever, according to Zephyr, the M&A database published by Bureau van Dijk.

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