Morgan Stanley Infrastructure has made its first investment in Australia, as part of a consortium acquiring control in a AUD1.6bn (€1bn) online property exchange network.

Property Exchange of Australia (PEXA) accepted an offer from the consortium - which includes two existing shareholders, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) and Link Administration - to buy a 55.4% interest in the entity.

Morgan Stanley Infrastructure made the investment through its $5.8bn North Haven Infrastructure Partners II (NHIP II) fund.

PEXA’s existing shareholders include the big four Australian banks, plus Macquarie Group, Link Administration, four state governments and Australian billionaire Paul Little.

When three of the state governments, which collectively owned 22.5%, decided to sell by the end of this year, PEXA adopted a dual track process – an initial public offering and a trade sale. It was forced to cancel its planned listing this week because of global stock market volatility.

Remaining shareholders, in particular, the 23.9% shareholder Macquarie Group and Paul Little with a 9.65% stake, must decide by the end of this week whether to retain their holding or to exit, according to sources close to the transaction.

Sources told IPE Real Assets the consortium hopes to take over 100% of the exchange.

Currently, existing shareholders Link Administration and CBA could increase their stakes from 27% to 44% and from 13.1% to 16%, respectively.

CBA Chief Executive, Matt Comyn, said: “As part of the transaction, which is subject to a number of conditions precedent, CBA will invest a further AUD50m, taking to a total of approximately AUD100m the amount we have invested in PEXA to date.”

Morgan Stanley Infrastructure has previously made two unsuccessful attempts to secure assets in Australia. These were Glencore Rail, a coal haulage business in NSW, and, as part of the Pacific consortium, TATTS Group, a national wagering business.