In the battle for Fairfax Media, a new US-based bidder has entered the fray.
Hellman & Friedman (H&F), established in 1984 by Lehman Brothers and Salomon Brothers executives Warren Hellman and Tully Friedman and with about $50 billion in assets under management, submitted an indicative non-binding proposal to acquire 100% of Fairfax's equity at a price between $1.225 and $1.25 per share, under the proviso that Fairfax pays no dividends between the date of the proposal to the acquisition.
H&F's proposal represents a slight premium to the revised proposal submitted by the TPG Consortium on May 15, which would see the latter acquire the media conglomerate for $1.20 per share.
Fairfax's board has invited both bidders to conduct due diligence prior to making proposals binding.
"The Fairfax board appreciates the support shareholders have demonstrated for Fairfax's current strategy and the potential separation of the Domain Group," Fairfax chair Nick Falloon said.
"We have carefully considered the indicative proposals and believe it is in the best interests of shareholders to grant both parties due diligence to explore whether a potential whole of company proposal is available."
Either proposal would also require regulatory approvals from the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board and the New Zealand Overseas Investment Office.