HONG KONG/SYDNEY May 18 Australian private equity fund Pacific Equity Partners (PEP) has kickstarted the auction of share registry business Link Group, a deal that could value the company at as much as A$1.4 billion ($1.4 billion) including debt, sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
A successful sale will make it Asia's biggest private equity exit so far this year and may spur more buyout shops to cash in on their investments.
PEP has hired Goldman Sachs to advise on the sale of Link, which has been anticipated since 2011, and the auction could attract private equity firms who have seen few investment opportunities this year for the funds they have raised in Asia.
Link, which comprises Link Market Services, competes with Australian share registry company Computershare and pension administrator AAS. It has been looking to raise capital to fund global expansion.
PEP, which acquired Link Group in 2005, plans to retain a small minority stake in the company, while selling majority control, the sources added.
PEP declined to comment. Goldman was not available for an immediate comment. The sources did not want to be identified as they were not authorised to speak to the media. ($1 = 1.0057 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Stephen Aldred and Narayanan Somasundaram; Editing by Denny Thomas and Muralikumar Anantharaman)