Brookfield Asset Management’s property arm has emerged as a rival bidder for Australia’s manufactured home group, Gateway Lifestyle Group, with an all-cash offer of AUD699m (€446m).

Gateway said Brookfield Property Group’s offer is “superior” to that made by Hometown America last week. Hometown is offering AUD634m for the Australian company.

Hometown’s offer equates to AUD2.10 per share for Gateway securities, which have since surged to close at AUD2.28 today.

Gateway chairman, Andrew Love, said Brookfield has made a non-binding offer to acquire all of Gateway’s securities at an indicative price of $2.30 per security.

To progress the proposal to a binding offer, he said, Brookfield had requested an exclusivity period of not less than six weeks to conduct due diligence.

“The board considers that engaging with Brookfield to determine if a binding offer can be put to Gateway Lifestyle security holders is in the interest of security holders,” Love said.

“Accordingly, Gateway Lifestyle will provide due diligence access to Brookfield on an exclusive basis.”

He said Brookfield envisaged undertaking the transaction via a scheme of arrangement or a recommended takeover.

Brookfield has said it intends to fund the transaction through available equity and debt commitments, and that it is not subject to a financing condition.

But stock analysts said Brookfield faces a complication, in that Hometown has a pre-bid agreement with four of Gateway’s institutional investors.

Together, these investors will deliver a combined stake of 17.8% of Gateway securities to Hometown. This could potentially be used as a blocking stake to a Brookfield takeover.

The Gateway statement said there is no guarantee that the Brookfield proposal or any discussions with Brookfield will lead to a formal binding offer.

Gateway has advised its security holders to take no action at this point.

Any transaction will require the approval of Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board.