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PEP signs up to share registry deal

Pacific Equity Partners, the Australian buyout firm, has agreed to acquire share registry ASX Perpetual Registrars in a AU$132m ($101.5m) transaction.

ASX Perpetual Registrars, the second-largest share registry in Australia, is to be acquired in a AU$132 million ($101.5 million) deal by Pacific Equity Partners (PEP). The business is currently a 50/50 joint venture between The Australian Stock Exchange and Perpetual Trustees Australia.

The agreement to sell ASX is subject to the private equity firm securing bank finance, approval for which is reported to be “well advanced”, and the parties are working towards completing the transaction by the end of this month.

Perpetual Trustees, which is a financial services company capitalised on the Australian Stock Exchange at around AU$2.4 billion, said in a statement it was selling the share registry business in order to develop growth opportunities for its core businesses such as fund management, retirement savings and portfolio management.

The size of the deal has defied the expectations of some analysts, who had expected the two owners to have difficulty in recouping their original AU$100 million investment in the company. Computershare, Australia’s largest share registry with a 65 percent market share, was precluded from submitting a bid.

PEP has in excess of AU$500 million under management and focuses on buyouts in Australia and New Zealand. Last December, it teamed up with fellow Australian buyout firm GS Private Equity to acquire earthmoving equipment manufacturer Emeco for almost AU$500 million in Australia’s largest buyout of 2004.