A consortium of investors including the company's founder and U.S. private-equity firm Warburg Pincus LLC is considering a buyout offer for Singapore-listed real-estate fund manager ARA Asset Management Ltd., according to people familiar with the situation.
ARA Asset Management, which currently has a market capitalization of 1.4 billion Singapore dollars (US$1 billion), manages property assets valued at S$30 billion. It has properties across Asia including shopping malls, offices and logistics facilities held through real-estate investment trusts and private funds.
The buyout consortium will be led by ARA's founder, John Lim, and includes other existing shareholders whose total holdings represent a combined 47% of the shares outstanding, the people familiar with the situation said.
ARA called for trading in its shares to be halted pending an announcement Thursday, after the Singapore Exchange asked the company about unusual trading activity in its shares.
The stock had risen 6% Thursday to S$1.495 from Wednesday's close of S$1.410 before the company called for a trading halt.
Mr. Lim owns a 19% stake in ARA, while Straits Trading Co.?a resources and property firm?owns a 20.1% stake. Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing's Cheung Kong Property Holdings Ltd. owns a 7.84% stake.
Mr. Lim declined to comment. Straits Trading and Cheung Kong didn't reply to emails seeking comment. A Warburg Pincus spokeswoman declined to comment.
According to Singapore takeover rules, if an investor takes a stake of 30% or more in a publicly traded company, the buyer needs to make an offer for the entire firm.
The buyout plan, if successful, would be the latest in a series of billion-dollar deals in which listed Singapore companies have been either taken private by the majority shareholders or foreign firms.
Earlier this year, French shipper CMA CGM SA took Singapore based Neptune Orient Lines private in a US$2.4 billion deal. In July, state-investment firm Temasek Holdings Ltd. made an offer to buy shares of Singapore rail and bus operator SMRT Ltd. that it didn't already own. The deal valued the transport operator at US$1.9 billion.
ARA, which was founded in 2002 with the backing of Mr. Li, one of Asia's richest tycoons, manages eight real-estate investment trusts including Suntec Real Estate Investment Trust in Singapore and Hui Xian REIT in Hong Kong.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 04, 2016 06:45 ET (10:45 GMT)
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