TPG Capital enters race for London Stansted airport — report

US private equity major TPG Capital LP has entered the bidding race for Stansted, the London airport owned by BAA Airports Limited, the Financial Times reported citing sources familiar with the talks.

TPG is competing in the first bidding round against Australian financial services provider Macquarie Group Limited (ASX:MQG) and a consortium made up of The Manchester Airport Group Plc (MAG) and another Australian entity – Industry Funds Management. Stansted, the third biggest airport in London, is estimated to be worth GBP1bn (USD1.6bn/EUR1.2bn), the FT said.

According to several sources, MAG is the contender with the strongest chances of emerging victorious from the battle but TPG has its strengths as well. The US investor has its roots in the aviation industry having been created in the wake of Continental Airlines Inc’s rescue from bankruptcy. TPG has maintained its involvement with the sector and its co-founder David Bonderman is chairman of the board of Ryanair Holdings Plc (LON:RYA). The latter is the holding company for Irish-based budget carrier Ryanair Ltd, which is also Stansted’s top customer.

BAA was forced to put Stansted up for sale in the summer after the failure of its final attempt to reverse a Competition Commission ruling. The operator was instructed in 2009 to sell three airports as part of a decision to break up its monopoly, the FT reminded.

The newspaper went on to add that BAA and its majority owner, Spanish transport infrastructure company Ferrovial SA (MCE:FER), are expected to provide bidders with further details this week. The contestants are expected to receive information regarding the deadline for their second-round bids. According to the article, sufficient airport operating experience will be a prerequisite for making the shortlist.

TPG Capital only bidder left in race for Australian Billabong

Australian surf, skate and snow apparel and accessories retailer Billabong International Ltd (ASX:BBG) on Thursday said US private equity firm TPG Capital had remained the sole bidder in its formal sale process after an unnamed second party had dropped out of the race.

Billabong announced on 6 September that an unnamed interested party had approached it with a AUD1.45 (USD1.52/EUR1.16) a share conditional, non-binding takeover proposal, matching the bid received from US private equity firm TPG Capital on 24 July.

Both parties were granted access to due diligence under nondisclosure agreements, Billabong said at the time, without naming the second bidder.
According to sources cited by Bloomberg and Reuters then, the rival suitor was US private equity group Bain Capital LLC which offered AUD694m for the surfwear maker.

None of the two offers reflect the fundamental value of Billabong, its board has said, adding that the best interest of shareholders would be better served by a formal process to evaluate whether it could secure an offer that the board would recommend.

In February, Billabong turned down a takeover offer of AUD3.30 a share, valuing it at AUD851m, from TPG. At the time founder and largest shareholder Gordon Merchant, together with director Colette Paull said they would not accept any offer below AUD4.00 a share.

In its statement from today, Billabong said that its formal sale process continues, with no guarantees that a deal will be reached.