HONG KONG Jan 25 Japan's Aeon Co Ltd
and a unit of Thailand's Central Group are eyeing a bid for PT
Matahari Department Store, a CVC-owned retail group in
Indonesia for which the private equity firm is seeking as much
as $3.5 billion, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
Reuters reported last October that CVC had hired
banks to help sell the 80 percent stake it bought in PT Matahari
in 2010 for $790 million. CVC had then teamed up with local
Indonesian investment vehicle Matahari Putra Prima TBK (MPP) to
buy a combined 98 percent stake in Matahari, in what is still
the nation's biggest ever private equity buyout.
Annual economic growth above 6 percent since 2010 has
allowed Indonesia's middle class to spend more on retail
purchases. Supermarkets, hypermarkets and shopping malls are now
spread across the country, with mini-markets placed in nearly
every Jakarta neighbourhood.
CVC and its advisers formulated plans to either pursue a
public sale of shares in the company or a sale of the entire
business to corporate buyers - a strategy known in banking
circles as a dual-track process.
The interest of Aeon and Central Group comes ahead of a
tentative March deadline, after which CVC will pursue a sale of
its shares in the open market if no takeover offers emerge.
Aeon denied that the company was pursuing PT Matahari.
Central Group also denied that it was pursuing the company.
But sources with direct knowledge of the matter said that
Aeon and the Thai company have hired investment banks to advise
on a possible offer.
As in any auction, Aeon and Central Group may not decide to
place a formal bid.
The public market option that CVC is considering is a share
placement to institutional investors that could raise up to $1.5
billion, the sources said.
CVC declined comment. Sources declined to be identified as
the sale process was confidential.
(Additional reporting by Khettiya Jittapong and Saranya
Suksomkij in BANGKOK, James Topham in TOKYO, Janeman Latul in
JAKARTA and Joyce Lee in SEOUL; Reporting by Stephen Aldred and
Denny Thomas; Editing by Michael Flaherty and Alex Richardson)