Race to buy GLP 'narrows down to two groups'

SINGAPORE/HONG KONG • The race to buy Global Logistic Properties (GLP) is now between a Chinese consortium backed by the company's management and a rival group led by Warburg Pincus, sources said ahead of a deadline to submit bids for the firm valued at US$10 billion (S$13.8 billion).

An acquisition would give bidders a chance to grab control of Asia's largest warehouse operator, which counts Amazon among its clients and is benefiting from rising demand for modern logistics facilities, driven by a boom in e-commerce business.

At current valuations, a successful transaction would rank as the largest Asian buyout by private equity groups, which are increasingly targeting bigger takeovers after having raised record funds, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Singapore-listed GLP was thrust into the spotlight late last year after sovereign wealth fund GIC, which owns a 37 per cent stake, nudged it to start a strategic review of its business. JPMorgan was then hired by GLP as its financial adviser.

GLP shares have since soared by nearly 50 per cent, to the highest level seen in more than three years.

Following months of negotiations with a special committee of GLP's independent directors, the race has narrowed to one between a group led by Chinese private equity firms Hopu Investment Management and Hillhouse Capital Group, which has the support of GLP chief executive Ming Mei, and a rival consortium headed by Warburg Pincus and its logistics partner e-Shang Redwood, said the sources.

The Chinese consortium has also brought in co-investors such as property developer China Vanke and Ping An Insurance Group of China for a bid for GLP, sources have said.

Concerns over the transparency of the sale process and the business ties of the management-backed consortium have forced some potential bidders to re-evaluate their interest and sparked complaints to GIC, said sources.

Last week, GLP said it was in discussions with shortlisted bidders and had taken measures to alleviate potential conflicts of interest following a Financial Times report that almost all potential bidders were dropping out over concerns that an insider bid would make other submissions pointless.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 01, 2017, with the headline 'Race to buy GLP 'narrows down to two groups''. Print Edition | Subscribe