A consortium of investors including U.S. private-equity firm Warburg Pincus LLC and the founder of Singapore listed ARA Asset Management Ltd. have made an offer to buy the real-estate fund manager that values it at S$1.78 billion (US$1.28 billion).
The buyout consortium led by ARA's founder, John Lim, also includes AVIC Trust Co., a Chinese state investment vehicle, Singapore's Straits Trading Corp., and Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing's Cheung Kong Property Holdings Ltd.
The consortium has offered topay S$1.78 per ARA share, the firms said in a joint statement on Tuesday. The offer price is a 26% premium to S$1.410 per share traded on Wednesday before the company halted trading in its shares. The Wall Street Journal reported the buyout plan on Friday.
ARA Asset Management, which currently has a market capitalization of S$1.5 billion Singapore dollars, 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 consortium partners intend to delist ARA from the Singapore stock exchange. "A deeper capital base well positions ARA in executing its business strategies going forward, including tapping growth opportunities through the network of our new partners," Mr. Lim said in a statement.
The buyout plan, if completed, 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.
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.
If the buyout plan is approved by other shareholders of ARA, Warburg Pincus will become the largest shareholder with a 30.7% stake, followed by Straits Trading Company, which would own a 21% stake, and AVIC Trust which would own a 20.5% stake. Mr. Lim and Cheung Kong Property would have a 19.9% and 8% stake respectively in the real-estate manager.ARA, which was founded in 2002 with the backing of Mr. Lim, 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. Warburg Pincus manages more than US$40 billion in assets, according to its website, and has invested in more than 120 companies across various sectors.
Write to P.R. Venkat at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 08, 2016 07:35 ET (12:35 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2016 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.