Private Equity Heavyweights Turn Attentions Down Under

TPG and KKR are both considering major deals in Australia—a country where activity from US-based private equity investors is on the downturn. TPG is reportedly nearing a deal to acquire Fairfax Media (ASX: FXJ), the publisher of newspapers like The Australian Financial Review and The Sydney Morning Herald with a market cap of some A$2.5 billion, while KKR and co-investors are said to be preparing a bid for Quintis (ASX: QIN), an Australian operator of sandalwood plantations in India currently valued at more than A$400 million.

American PE investors have completed just three deals in Australia so far this year, according to the PitchBook Platform, on pace for a major decline from last year’s total of 44, which was itself tied for a five-year low. A healthy chunk of US investment in the nation goes to companies (like Quintis) in the materials & resources space—more than 20% since the start of 2005, per PitchBook data.

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Both KKR and TPG are among the five most-active American PE investors in Australia over that same time span. Both are busy throughout Oceania and Asia: As a matter of fact, in a separate development from its Fairfax bid, TPG has just agreed to acquire the Vietnam Australia International School, a private education provider, from former shareholders Mekong Capital, MAJ Invest and FPT Capital, per DealStreetAsia.

Article by PitchBook