* Consortium withdraws A$2.87 bln ($2.23 bln) offer - Link
* 44% stake in online real estate firm PEXA has stoked bid interest
* Australia home prices booming; Link shares drop almost 5%
* Other, higher-value expressions of interest received for PEXA stake -Link (Adds consortium declined to comment, background, shares drop)
April 28 (Reuters) - Australian shareholder registry firm Link Administration said it would continue to explore options for its sought-after stake in online real estate business PEXA after a private equity group dropped a $2.2 billion bid for Link.
Shares in Link sank nearly 5% after it said on Wednesday the consortium, including Carlyle Group and Pacific Equity Partners, had withdrawn its A$2.87 billion ($2.23 billion) offer.
Link had said last year it did not see “compelling value” in the offer, and an external spokesperson for the consortium declined to comment on Wednesday.
But Link said on Wednesday it had received non-binding indications of interest that reflected better value for its 44% stake in online conveyancing firm PEXA than that implied by the consortium’s bid. The strengthening Australian property market has been central to multiple bids for Link in pursuit of PEXA since last year, and the company has looked to cash in on the stake.
Binding offers for the sale of the PEXA stake are expected in June, Link said. Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners and Commonwealth Bank of Australia own the rest of PEXA.
Earlier this week, local media reported here KKR & Co and property classifieds firm Domain Holdings Australia would bid for Link's stake in PEXA, while investment banks Macquarie and UBS were also said to be in the running.
In February, Link said PEXA shareholders were also exploring the possibility of taking the firm public.
Data earlier this month showed Australian home prices rose at the fastest pace in three decades in March as record-low interest rates spurred demand. For the half year ended Dec. 31, PEXA reported a 28% jump in transaction volumes and a 27% rise in revenue.
Shares in Link fell as much as 4.9% to A$5.02 against a largely flat wider market by 0115 GMT - on track for their biggest intraday decline since Jan. 4. ($1 = 1.2877 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur, Devika Syamnath and Kenneth Maxwell)