Aussie food fight finish augurs more M&A battles

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(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are their own.)

MELBOURNE (Reuters Breakingviews) - Macquarie’s infrastructure and real assets division has triumphed in a bruising takeover battle. After lobbing 19 offers between them, rival private equity bidder Roc Partners has conceded defeat in its quest for Vitalharvest Freehold Trust. The fight added 33% to the headline price for the owner of berry, citrus and avocado farmland. It’s unlikely to be this year’s only over-ripe M&A deal.

Other battles are still underway. These include the A$8.4 billion ($6.5 billion) gamble for casino operator Crown Resorts and the A$4 billion chase for Tabcorp’s wagering and gaming unit.

There’s a fair chance Vitalharvest won’t be the only agribusiness in play. Just a year after severe water shortages and bushfires, farmer confidence and demand for tractors are at or near years-long highs as commodity and livestock prices soar. Macquarie at least had some financial advantages in its A$357 million food fight with Roc. But potential buyers can’t plant those in every deal. (By Antony Currie)

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(SIGN UP FOR BREAKINGVIEWS EMAIL ALERTS: | Editing by Pete Sweeney and Katrina Hamlin)

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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