* Group offers S$3.38/shr cash, 25 pct premium over last price
* Warburg Pincus-led group had also bid for GLP
* Sovereign wealth fund GIC supports deal
* GLP cites more deal certainty as factor in picking winning bid (Adds details of the deal)
By Anshuman Daga
SINGAPORE, July 14 (Reuters) - Global Logistic Properties (GLP) agreed to be acquired by a Chinese private equity consortium backed by senior GLP executives for about S$16 billion ($11.6 billion), choosing it over a rival bid in Asia’s largest private equity buyout.
The seven-month auction for Asia’s biggest warehouse operator was marred by complaints from some potential bidders about a lack of transparency and the perceived advantages of the Chinese consortium through their business ties.
The winning group of China’s Hopu Investment Management, Hillhouse Capital Group, Vanke Group and Bank of China Group Investment was supported by GLP Chief Executive Ming Mei in its bid, which trumped an offer by a Warburg Pincus-led consortium - the only other short-listed bidder.
GLP formed a committee of independent directors and said it had taken measures to alleviate potential conflicts of interest. It said on Friday that it chose the Chinese consortium because it had more deal certainty and “limited conditionality”, reducing the “execution risk”.
“After an extensive evaluation of all final proposals received, the Special Committee decided on the proposed scheme, which we believe is compelling and value-enhancing for all shareholders,” Seek Ngee Huat, chairman of GLP’s board, said in a joint statement with the winning consortium.
The acquisition is not conditional on getting antitrust approvals or a green light from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), among others.
Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC, which owns 37 percent of GLP, said it supports the transaction.
Last year, GIC nudged GLP to start a strategic review of its business. GLP then hired JPMorgan as its financial adviser and Allen & Gledhill as its legal adviser.
GLP’s shares have since soared nearly 50 percent to their highest levels in more than three years.
The Chinese group is offering S$3.38 in cash per share, representing 81 percent premium over its 12-month volume weighted average price and a 25 percent premium over its last full trading day before the announcement.
The proposed acquisition will be done by way of a scheme of arrangement and the Chinese group plans to delist and take the Singapore-listed firm private.
Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley acted as lead joint financial advisers for the consortium and are providing the financial resources confirmation related to the purchase. DBS Bank and China International Capital Corporation also advised the consortium. ($1 = 1.3733 Singapore dollars) (Reporting by Anshuman Daga; Additional reporting by Elzio Baretto in HONG KONG; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)