PEP bids A$1.1bn for SAI Group

Tim Sims' firm has proposed to buy 100% of the Australian compliance business.

Pacific Equity Partners has offered to buy all outstanding shares of Australia’s SAI Global as the compliance business terminates the employment of its chief executive Stephen Porges, according to a statement on the Australian Stock Exchange.

The country manager, one of Australia’s largest private equity firms, has offered between A$5.10 ($4.72; €3.46) and A$5.25 per share for 100 percent of SAI, according to the statement, with media widely estimating the potential deal value as up to A$1.1 billion.

“The board is open to engaging with PEP to determine whether a binding proposal that is capable of being put to shareholders with the recommendation of the SAI Board, can be developed. The board has appointed Macquarie Capital and Gilbert and Tobin to assist in this process [but] cautions that the indicative proposal is non-binding, conditional and subject to due diligence,” the statement said.

SAI is an ASX-listed business, focusing on providing information services, risk management and compliance to companies globally.

The business terminated the contract of chief executive Porges due to his differences with the board.

“Last week, it became clear to the board that we were unlikely to resolve the differences between the non-executive directors and the chief executive regarding the changes required and the pace of those changes to deliver the business improvements that we are seeking over the short to medium term,” Andrew Dutton, who is serving as executive chairman in the interim, said in a statement.

“As a result, the board has determined that the course of action that is in the best interests of shareholders is to terminate Mr Porges’ employment with the company. Until a suitable successor is identified and appointed, I will serve as executive chairman.”

The offer comes as PEP sells 50.6 percent of The Spotless Group, an Australian cleaning company, on the Australian Stock Exchange for around $880 million, media reports said earlier this week. 

The firm is also in fundraising mode for its fourth private equity fund targeting A$2 billion, for which it was expecting to have raised A$850 million in a first close by April, Private Equity International reported earlier.