Carlyle will struggle to bag elusive Aussie prize

Carlyle Group CEO Kewsong Lee speaks during a Reuters Newsmaker event in New York City, U.S., September 22, 2021. REUTERS/Stephen Yang

MELBOURNE, Dec 22 (Reuters Breakingviews) - Carlyle’s (CG.O) 14-month on-again, off-again pursuit of one of Australia’s most sought-after M&A targets may finally be at an end. In November the private-equity firm suddenly returned with an offer for Link Administration (LNK.AX), the shareholder services company it had first approached a year earlier. Since then, the target has seen off all suitors, including KKR (KKR.N) and software developer SS&C Technologies (SSNC.O). Now Canada’s Dye & Durham(DND.TO), which had earlier contemplated joining the takeover throng, has struck an agreed deal valuing Link’s equity at A$2.8 billion ($2 billion).

Dye’s offer is only around 2% higher than Carlyle’s – mostly courtesy of the share-price rise at PEXA (PXA.AX), the mortgage-settlement company 43%-owned by Link. But Dye boss Matthew Proud reckons he can squeeze out C$125 million ($97 million) in annual costs. Taxed and capitalised, those are worth roughly a third of the value of the entire deal – and some two-thirds, after stripping out the PEXA stake. It’s hard to see Carlyle beating that. Bowing out for the final time looks like the best move. (By Antony Currie)

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Editing by Robyn Mak and Thomas Shum

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