Ontario Teachers, Borealis Said to Weigh Bids for ASIC Registry

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and Borealis Infrastructure Management Inc. are among suitors weighing bids for a corporate registry unit being sold by Australia, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The Canadian funds join local companies including credit-analysis provider Veda Group Ltd. and registry firm Computershare Ltd. in expressing interest in the arm of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, according to the people. The unit may fetch as much as A$3 billion ($2.2 billion), two of the people said, asking not to be identified as the details are private.

Australia in August hired Greenhill & Co. to study options for the corporate registry business as the government led by Prime Minister Tony Abbott sells assets to help repair the nation’s budget deficit. Last year, it sold health insurer Medibank Private Ltd. in a A$5.7 billion initial public offering.

The government has called for expressions of interest by July 27 for the ASIC unit, which maintains Australia’s official ledger of companies and other professional registers comprising more than 10 million records. The new owner will be able to upgrade and operate the business, as well as develop new products and services while collecting tax revenue on behalf of the government, which will maintain ownership of the data.

Canadian Land

Borealis, an arm of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, owns a Canadian land registry business called Teranet, according to its website. Ontario Teachers, Canada’s third-largest pension-fund manager, was part of a group that in June agreed to buy property-services provider DTZ for A$1.22 billion.

The Australian government will “not comment on potential or actual participants during any stage of the competitive tender process,” a spokeswoman for the Department of Finance said by e-mail. A Computershare spokesman referred to comments made at the company’s earnings in February, when the company said it would “keep a watching brief on the possible disposal” of the ASIC business.

Lori McLeod, a spokeswoman for Borealis, and Deborah Allan, a spokeswoman for Ontario Teachers, declined to comment. Victor Leung, a spokesman for Veda, said the company is a large supplier of value-added ASIC services but declined to comment on the sale.

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