Asia’s biggest buyout sees GLP gets RM50b

Singapore • A Chinese consortium agreed to pay S$16 billion (RM50.05 billion) for Global Logistic Properties Ltd (GLP), the warehouse operator backed by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, in Asia’s biggest buyout.

GLP accepted the takeover offer from a management-backed group that includes private-equity (PE) firms Hillhouse Capital Management and Hopu Investment Management. The group, which also includes founder Ming Mei’s SMG, Bank of China Group Investment and a unit of China Vanke Co, offered S$3.38 a share, GLP said in a statement to Singapore’s stock exchange.

GLP shares, which were suspended, surged 22% to S$3.29 after trading resumed in Singapore. The offer exceeds the shares’ highest closing price since listing and represents a 64% premium to the price before Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte Ltd, GLP’s largest shareholder, initiated a strategic review of the company in December.

GIC, which owns about 37% of the company, will vote in favour of the offer, the statement said. However, GIC could accept an unsolicited, higher bid that isn’t matched by the Chinese-led group.

“In view of the premium paid and the low conditionality of the deal, any potential counter-bidder will have their work cut out for them,” Justin Tang, a director of global special situations at Religare Capital Markets in Singapore, said in an email.

E-commerce companies such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Inc are driving a boom in demand for warehouse space in Asia. The deal will be the largest PE buyout of an Asian company by enterprise value, surpassing last year’s takeover of Qihoo 360 Technology Co, data compiled by Bloomberg show. It would be the second-largest logistics deal this year after China Investment Corp agreed to buy Blackstone Group LP’s European logistics business for €12.25 billion (RM60.02 billion) in June.

The winning group edged out a rival consortium led by Warburg Pincus, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The purchase stands out as Chinese acquirers have pulled back on large deals this year amid regulatory scrutiny from the nation’s leaders, who are seeking to stabilise the yuan and contain financial risks. Before this year, Chinese buyers had been among the most prolific deal-makers in the world. Chinese companies had been in PE deals valued at about US$162 billion (RM696.6 billion) over the past three years, with such transactions soaring to a high of US$56 billion in 2016, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. — Bloomberg