Private equity deals in Australia

January 2, 2023

This list tracks some private equity investments in the Australian market, although there are plenty still to add.

Affinity Health: CVC more than tripled its equity investment after just 18 months when it sold Affinity Health to Ramsay Healthcare for $1.5 billion in 2005. See ASX announcements in April 2005. The original 53 Mayne Nickless hospital were bought for $813 million in October 2003, with the Singapore government as a minority investor.

Cleanaway: KKR paid $1.83 billion to Brambles for the BIS Cleanaway business in 2006 and then sold the Cleanaway element to Transpacific Industries just 10 months later for $1.25 billion, generating an estimated $200 million profit. Transpacific later almost went broke after loading up with too much debt on acquisitions and KKR still retains the old Brambles Industrial Services business which is doing well servicing the mining boom.

Coates Hire: Carlyle Group and the Kerry Stokes-backed National Hire paid an excessive $2.2 billion for the equipment hire firm in late 2007 as the market peaked and despite relatively strong operational performance, it initially struggled to generate a positive return after the GFC. However, conditions then turned and Stokes's Seven Group Holdings ended up taking out Carlyle and moving to 100% ownership of Coates by paying $517m for Carlyle's 53.3% stake in September 2017.

Consolidated Pastoral: UK private equity firm Terra Firma paid $425 million for the Packer family's Australian cattle portfolio in March 2009 just as global markets were bottoming after the GFC.

Golding: NRW Holdings pulled off the deal of the century buying Queensland mining contractor Golding for $85 million from private equity firm CHAMP in 2017, which reportedly paid an undisclosed sum for the business in 2008. As the acquisition presentation shows, Golding had 2016-17 EBITDA of $53 million, so an $85 million enterprise value represents a multiple of 1.4 times. No wonder the stock soared. Investors in the relevant CHAMP fund presumably asked a few hard questions. The Courier Mail explains some of the history here. NRW shares were trading at 65c before the 2017 acquisition was announced and finished 2022 at $2.81

Healthscope: Carlyle and TPG paid $2.7 billion in 2010 to take the healthcare company private and we're yet to see whether a profit can be delivered.

I-Med: after exiting in 2011, CVC lost two-thirds of the $720 of equity it invested in the radiology group.

JB Hi-Fi: an early private equity success story for Macquarie Bank which was floated in 2004 with retail investors paying $1.55 and institutions $1.80. However, when the stock pushed through $20 it was clear the Millionaires Factory ultimately left more than $1 billion on the table by getting out too early.

Myer: TPG and the Myer family bought the business, including Myer Melbourne, for $1.4 billion in 2006 and exited through a public float with a profit of more than $2 billion, although investors in the float have since suffered terrible returns.

Pacific Brands: CVC reportedly made a 740% return after buying the business from Pacific Dunlop and then floating it for $1.3 billion in April 2004.

PBL Media: CVC paid a total of $5.5 billion for 100% of the Packer family's old media assets and look like losing the entire $1.9 billion of equity once its $3.7 billion debt falls due in February 2013. The biggest problem has been crashing magazine earnings.

Seven Group Holdings: KKR paid top dollar for a 50% stake in 2007 but went close to escaping with a small profit courtesy of Seven's strong operating performance and the rising Australian dollar. The final outcome depended on the sale of its 15% stake in Seven West Media.

Tech Pacific: in June 2003 CVC bought a 58.5% stake in Australia's largest IT and technology distributor from Hagemeyer in a deal that valued the whole business at $US345 million. The following year US giant Ingram Micro paid $A700 million for the whole business, as CVC more than tripled its equity investment.