Global private equity giant Hellman & Friedman has stepped in with a competing offer for Fairfax Media, seeking to trump rival private TPG’s $2.76 billion offer.
The Hellman & Friedman bid puts more money on the table, coming in at $1.225 to $1.25 per share, higher than the TPG-led bid at $1.20 per share.
Hellman & Friedman also has a connection with Fairfax.
The group’s emeritus chairman Brian Powers and senior advisor, headed Kerry Packer’s publishing group PBL for five years before moving across to Fairfax where he served as chairman between 1999 and 2002.
With the potential bidding war now in full play, the Fairfax board has told the market it will allow both companies to look at its books.
Fairfax chairman Nick Falloon said: “We have carefully considered the indicative proposals and believe it is in the best interests of shareholders to grant both parties due diligence to explore whether a potential whole of company proposal is available.”
Both bids require Foreign Investment Review Board and New Zealand Overseas Investment Office approval.
The head of TPG Capital’s Australia and New Zealand operations Joel Thickins will front a Senate inquiry into public interest journalism today.