It’s been a busy New Year for Australian dealmaking, with mergers and acquisitions activity heating up just after bankers returned from their Christmas holidays.
Australian companies have already announced A$930mn ($640mn) of transactions this year, up 58% from the same period in 2019.
That’s not counting the latest purchase by Macquarie Group Ltd’s infrastructure arm, which signed a deal last week to take over A$3bn data centre operator AirTrunk, Bloomberg News has reported.
The AirTrunk deal, when officially unveiled, could make this the busiest first half of January in at least three years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
In 2019, it wasn’t until the end of January that Healthscope Ltd announced the year’s first big transaction with its A$4.4bn sale to Brookfield Asset Management Inc.
Buyout firms have a lot of cash to deploy, which could also keep the dealmaking momentum in Australia strong this year, according to Nick Brown, a Sydney-based managing director at UBS Group AG.
“Private equity and superannuation funds continue to chase any assets which have defensive or infrastructure-like characteristics,” Brown said in a phone interview. “Valuations are high and capital is available. You put those things together and that makes for conducive M&A conditions.”
Last week, A$8.9bn fuel station operator Caltex Australia Ltd confirmed a Bloomberg News report it had received interest from the UK’s EG Group.
That could set up a takeover battle with Canadian convenience-store giant Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc, which is considering its next move after Caltex rejected an earlier offer.
Any sale of Caltex would be the biggest foreign acquisition of a listed Australian company in more than two years.
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