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AMP courts bids for infra, RE equity units despite mooted demerger

Apollo and DigitalBridge are said to be eyeing AMP's international infra equity business, with Dexus bidding for its domestic real estate and infra units.

Collimate Capital’s planned demerger from parent AMP Ltd could be scrapped, with the latter confirming it is in talks with “multiple parties” regarding the potential sale of Collimate’s real estate and infrastructure equity businesses.

Affiliate title Infrastructure Investor understands that Apollo Global Management is one of the parties involved in discussions with AMP, with a view to acquiring Collimate’s international infrastructure equity business. AMP Capital’s former head of infrastructure equity in the Americas, Dylan Foo, left the Australian firm in 2019 to join Apollo, where he is a partner and co-head of infrastructure.

Australian media reports suggest DigitalBridge is going head to head with Apollo, with a sale possibly to be announced in the coming weeks.

In a statement, AMP confirmed another one of the parties it was “in discussions” with is Australian real estate group Dexus. The announcement comes amid reports that Collimate’s Australian real estate and infrastructure businesses are in the process of being sold to Dexus for a sum between A$200 million ($147 million; €137 million) and A$300 million, with Collimate’s domestic infrastructure equity team – led by Michael Bessell and Michael Cummings – set to join Dexus, should that deal proceed.

“AMP will continue these discussions with a focus on maximizing the value for shareholders by getting the best outcome for clients and employees,” the ASX-listed company said. “While these discussions continue, AMP remains in a position to pursue either a sale or demerger of these businesses.”

In a separate statement, Dexus confirmed discussions with AMP “regarding a possible transaction.”

AMP and Dexus declined to comment further when contacted by Infrastructure Investor, while Apollo and DigitalBridge could not be reached for comment in time for publication.

Demerger plans

The proposed demerger of AMP’s private markets firm Collimate Capital – previously known as AMP Capital – was announced last year and was said to be on track for completion in the first half of this year. AMP, which appointed ex-State Street Global Adviser senior executive Shawn Johnson as Collimate’s chief executive last June, intends to retain a 20 percent stake in the new company if the demerger goes ahead, which would see the firm listed on the ASX.

Earlier this year, AMP noted in its FY21 results that it had received inbound enquiries about acquiring Collimate, adding at the time: “AMP will consider any approaches in line with its obligation to act in the best interests of shareholders.”

In December, the Sydney-based company announced it had entered into a binding agreement with Ares Management to sell Collimate’s infrastructure debt platform for A$428 million. That deal reached financial close in February 2022.

Ares initially sought to acquire the whole of AMP Ltd before withdrawing its bid in February 2021. The US-based alternatives fund manager then announced its intention to seek a 60 percent stake in AMP Capital for A$1.35 billion soon afterwards, before AMP Ltd decided to pursue a demerger.