AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Patrick confirms approach from Macquarie Bank

<p>The battle for Patrick Corp may be about to burst back into life, after the company confirmed this morning (Friday, May 5) that it had been approached by Macquarie Bank for discussions.</p> <p>Patrick said it has declined talks under its agreement with Toll Holdings not to actively seek a higher offer. </p> <p>However, the Patrick board acceptance of the Toll bid &#8211 agreed just before Easter after a dramatic eight-month defence &#8211 depends on no higher offer emerging in any case.</p> <p>Macquarie is expected to to mount an all-cash challenge to the $6bn-plus scrip and cash bid from Toll. </p> <p>Toll now owns 10.1% of Patrick outright, and its offer closes in a week’s time, on Friday May 12. </p> <p>Toll has only today to announce an extension of this date, or force Partrick shareholders into a choice by next Friday. </p> <p>Any offer from Macquarie could prevent Toll taking 50.1% control by next Friday, and would stop Toll carrying out the undertakings it agreed with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. </p> <p>This would cause the current Toll bid to fail and guarantee that the fight continues. </p> <p>Acceptances for the Toll offer in the institutional facility have stopped over the last two days as speculation on a rival bid has mounted, remaining at 9.38%. </p> <p>A Patrick spokesman said the company "has received no higher offer and is fully aware of its legal obligations. If there is anything to be announced we will announce it".</p> <p>Toll had finally won a board recommendation from Patrick only after raising the cash component of its offer in stages from its original 50 cents, to $3 or an additional $1.6bn.</p> <p>The <em>Australian Financial Review</em> said today that a bid could come as soon as Monday, as Macquarie races to put together debt and equity backing.</p> <p>A fresh battle could focus once again on threats made around the Pacific National joint venture between Toll and Patrick. </p> <p>The <em>AFR</em> reported Toll chief Paul Little saying there would be a hostile reaction in the joint venture if Macquarie were to take Patrick, with Toll taking its forwarding business off the trains.</p> <p>The ACCC had also agreed to Patrick’s vertical expansion into rail forwarding through buying FCL only on the basis that Pacific National was broken up, which could still take years of legal action.</p> <p>The Toll offer values Patrick at $8.51. Patrick rose on this morning’s trade to $8.98, while Toll fell nearly 8 cents to $12.98.</p> <p>Macquarie would have to offer at least $9 per share in cash for Patrick. </p> <p>However, Toll’s scrip-based offer would get another free kick through re-rating once its bid gets accepted, with its shares possibly climbing to around $15.70 and valuing the Patrick shares at almost $9.30.</p> <p>Patrick’s latest valuation by independent expert Lonergan Edwards was between $8.16 and $8.71. </p> <p>This was based on good port forecasts and noted the multiples paid by DP World for P&#38O Ports and the early Goldman Sachs offers for Associated British Ports. </p> <p>Macquarie could buy Patrick and then relist it at a later date, a similar deal structure to its purchase of explosives company Dyno Nobel.</p> <p>There has been speculation that Singapore’s PSA or other Asian port groups may be involved in the bid, though their operational role, given Patrick’s existing strong management team, is unclear. </p> <br />