The Link Group circus is rolling back into town

The Link Group circus is rolling back into town
The Link Group circus is rolling back into town
Paul Skamvougeras of Perpetual, one of the most powerful funds in the market, wrote a letter last Friday in which the “friendly” Carlyle and PEP consortium returned to Carapiet with a firmer offer. Link announced the offer on Monday morning, knowing that its largest shareholder had been crossed.

The old dogs don’t stop with PEP’s Cameron Blanks, who is again overseeing his company’s potential link investment, and Carapiet.

Cameron Blanks, Managing Director of Pacific Equity Partners. Louie Douvis

The banking syndicates are littered with faces that have been eating Link for years.

Link acquired Macquarie Capital – one of the company’s pre- and post-IPO investors – and UBS, one of the leading banks in the IPO and the group that sold the core stake in PEP in 2016.

PEP and Carlyle have hired Jarden Australia and Credit Suisse as advisors. Jardens local boss Robbie Vanderzeil, who was heavily involved in Link’s initial public offering and subsequent block deals, signed the documents with former Goldman Sachs banker Sarah Rennie. Jardens expected balance sheet partner Nomura got an appearance as a potential financier, while Credit Suisse was somehow not mentioned in the offer letter, although it helped with the writing.

Gilbert + Tobin and Allen & Overy (Carlyle / PEP) and Herbert Smith Freehills (Link) do the legal work.

The whole situation is further evidence that Australian private equity and investment banking lacks new ideas – or that high-level dealmakers are just fools for their old toys. In either case, it is not an endorsement for public markets that private equity firms can afford to buy back their previous portfolio companies.

Carlyle and PEP’s interest comes from the fact that private equity firms in Australia and around the world have scrutinized all of Link. Blackstone, Barings, KKR – you name it, they were either shown it or it popped up on their own screens and they looked at it closely.

The question is, does anyone want to take over the power of the inside knowledge of Carlyle and PEP.

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