Goodman Group, along with "three major pension and sovereign wealth funds", has made a move for the ING Industrial Fund, it was revealed this morning.
In a statement to the ASX, ING said it had received a "highly conditional" proposal from the consortium to acquire the fund for a cash consideration reflecting a price equivalent to the net tangible asset per unit at June 30th 2010, adjusted for items post date and transactional costs.
The deal remains subject to the finalisation of funding arrangements, the completion of due diligence, and tellingly, Foreign Investment Review Board approval.
The fund had a market value of $1.2 billion at yesterday's close, and $3.2 billion in assets under management - invested in industrial property across Australia, Canada and Europe.
The fund is one of 5 listed real estate investment trusts (REITs) managed by ING Real Estate in Australia on behalf of 60,000 investors.
In a separate statement, Goodman said that it was exploring options to bridge the gap between the fund's trading price and the net tangible assets for unit holders, including privatisation of the fund.
Goodman added that its intention was to hold 20 per cent of the privatised vehicle, with the balance of equity held by its consortium partners. The company plans to manage the privatised fund alongside its existing suite of unlisted funds.
"The Board has not formed a view at this stage as to the merits of the offer. There is no guarantee that discussions with the Goodman consortium will lead to a formal binding offer for all the ordinary units in the fund. Accordingly, unitholders should take no action at this time,' said Kevin McCann, chairman of ING Investment Management Limited.
ING said that Goodman has indicated that it expects to make a binding privatisation offer to the fund's unitholders by early to mid December.