Australia's Link turns down Carlyle-Pacific Equity bid, says open to talks

(Reuters) – Link Administration Holdings LNK.AX on Friday rejected a takeover offer of A$2.76 billion ($1.96 billion) from private equity firms Carlyle Group CG.O and Pacific Equity Partners, but said it was willing to continue talks over the bid.

The shareholder registry firm said it had arrived at the decision after discussions with the private equity duo, their advisers and its own shareholders.

The conditional offer of A$5.20 a share undervalued PEXA, an online property transaction firm that Link holds a stake in, and did not factor in a market recovery, the company said.

Before the offer was announced early last week, Link had lost nearly a third of its value since the start of the year and had swung to a full-year loss in August as the COVID-19 pandemic wrecked havoc across markets.

Link also said it was looking at potentially spinning-off its 44.2% stake in PEXA into a separate listed company. Commonwealth Bank of Australia CBA.AX and Morgan Stanley MS.N also hold a stake in PEXA.

Link, which also provides services to fund managers and trading firms, said it would update investors on its plans in November.

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