Australia's PEP considering future of $1 billion proposal for SAI Global: source

SYDNEY Mon Jun 2, 2014 5:14am EDT

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SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian buyout firm Pacific Equity Partners is considering the future of a A$1.1 billion ($1.02 billion) takeover proposal for compliance company SAI Global Ltd (SAI.AX) after the target said it would publish information for other potential buyers, a source told Reuters.

The move from SAI, which last week terminated its chief executive officer's contract four months into the job, could put an early stop to what was shaping up as a bidding war for the struggling industry compliance company.

On May 26, SAI and PEP confirmed the private equity firm made the non-binding proposal. SAI said it was open to engaging with PEP with a view to forming a binding offer it could recommend to shareholders.

But on Monday, SAI said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange that "a number of parties" have since expressed "interest in SAI and its businesses" and it would set up an online data room to be made available to all parties involved in a possible sale.

SAI did not give any details about the alternative bidders.

PEP is now considering whether to proceed with its proposal because it made it on condition that it got exclusive access to conduct due diligence on SAI, said the source who was familiar with the deal process but not authorised to comment publicly.

SAI Executive Chairman Andrew Dutton could not immediately be contacted. PEP declined comment.

SAI shares closed 1.76 percent higher at A$5.20, in the buying range being offered by PEP of A$5.10 to A$5.25 per share.

(Reporting by Byron Kaye; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Miral Fahmy)

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