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Coates Agrees to Deal with Carlyle, National Hire

Australian equipment hire firm Coates Hire has agreed to a revised takeover bid from smaller rival National Hire and private equity firm Carlyle Group, a source familiar with the situation said on Tuesday.

Coates, which last month rejected a A$1.6 billion (US$1.4 billion) bid from National Hire and Carlyle, had said earlier on Tuesday it was considering a proposal on the company's future, but did not give further details.

An announcement was expected later on Tuesday, sources told Reuters.

Neither National Hire nor Coates immediately returned calls seeking comment. Shares in both were put on a trading halt on Tuesday.

Coates' shares closed at A$6.10 on Monday, having risen almost 5% since it rejected the improved bid on Sept. 5, which equated to A$6.29 a share on an ex-dividend basis. Coates said that bid undervalued the company.

Coates, which hires out everything from portable toilets to generators to the building, mining and energy sectors, put itself up for sale in June. In August it rejected takeover offers, which sources said included an earlier A$6.25 bid from National Hire and Carlyle, as too low.

Shareholders and analysts had criticized Coates' decision to reject the offers, saying shareholders should have been consulted.

Coates, which recently concluded a strategic review, has said it would focus on expanding its sales and cutting costs.