Vocus sale: Trustpower teams with Cameron Partners

The latest from the rumour mill.
Does Vocus chairman Bob Mansfield have a dwindling number of suitors?

Trustpower seems a step closer to a possible deal to buy Vocus' New Zealand assets, which include ISPs Orcon and Slingshot.

The Australian Financial Review reports Cameron and Partners has been hired to advise the power company on the deal.

After a quick staff pow-wow, Cameron Partners declined to comment when approached by NBR this morning.

2degrees in partnership with a private equity company (thought to be New York-based private equity player TPG Capital) has also been named as a bidder.

But this morning, UBS notes 2degrees' majority shareholder, Trilogy International Partners, appears to be gunshy.

Analysts were apparently told on a conference call that because of the high level of competition in the New Zealand marketplace, Trilogy noted in particular that, because of the high level of competition in the New Zealand broadband space, 'there's a pretty big gap between what we think this thing would be worth and what the seller's expectations are."

But at the same time, there has been speculation about a last-minute bid from Canada's Brookfield Asset Management.

There was another major development on March 28 when Vocus, which has just had a change of chairman and chief executive, said in a sharemarket filing that there might now be no sale if the assets don't attract the right price.

Trustpower is said to have offered $A250 million, well short of the $A500m+ Vocus is said to be seeking (the ASX-listed company has not put any public price tag on its New Zealand assets, which have a carrying value of $A332m.

Read more about the assets on sale and their financials here.

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