Australian real estate fund manager Propertylink could become the subject of a takeover attempt less than two weeks after rejecting an unsolicited offer from rival Centuria.
Logistics specialist ESR has bought an 18% stake in Propertylink with backing from private equity investor Warburg Pincus.
Propertylink, which manages AUD1.8bn of property on its balance sheets and behalf of third-party investors, last month rebuffed an approach from Centuria, which had built up a 17% stake in the company.
Propertylink informed the Australian Securities Exchange that ESR was behind a recent purchase of an 18.06% stake by Citi. Before this, the market had been abuzz with rumours of a new takeover attempt when Citi amassed the shares for an unknown buyer.
Propertylink also said ESR had indicated its intention to engage the management in strategic initiatives and the possibility of increasing its interest in the future.
Propertylink said it was not aware of ESR’s intentions but was open to discussions to determine if any strategic initiatives proposed would be in the best interests of Propertylink securityholders.
ESR was formed in Singapore in January 2016 as a result of a merger between e-Shang and Redwood, and has since flagged its ambition to expand its operations throughout Asia-Pacific.
It was one of the parties involved in acquisition talks with the Singapore-listed Global Logistic Properties (GLP). When it lost that bid to the management-led Nesta consortium, ESR turned its attention to another listed Singapore entity, the struggling Shariah Compliant Industrial REIT, known as Sabana.
Since August, ESR, which holds a 5% stake in Sabana, is said to have been conducting due diligence with a view to outright purchase. Talks are expected to stretch out over the next few months.
ESR also owns more than 10% of another Singapore-based industrial REIT Cambridge Industrial Trust, which has been renamed ESR-REIT.