China Dealmaker Gets GLP CEO’s Backing in Buyout Bid

  • Hopu makes bid for Singapore warehouse operator with CEO Mei
  • Private equity firm competing with Blackstone, Warburg Pincus

Chinese dealmaker Fang Fenglei won backing from Global Logistic Properties Ltd.’s chief executive officer as he pursues a takeover of the $9.1 billion warehouse owner, which could become the biggest Asian buyout deal, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Fang’s Beijing-based private equity firm, Hopu Investment Management, submitted an offer for the Singapore company together with Hillhouse Capital Management and GLP CEO Ming Mei, according to the people. Blackstone Group LP and an investor group led by Warburg Pincus also made non-binding bids, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. 

Shares of GLP rose 4.6 percent to S$2.74 at the close Monday in Singapore, the highest since June 2015. It was the biggest gainer on the city-state’s benchmark Straits Times Index, which advanced 0.5 percent.

GLP announced Feb. 3 it received a number of non-binding proposals, which will be evaluated by a special committee of independent board members. Fang and the company’s CEO each have an interest in one of the parties that submitted proposals and have recused themselves from related board discussions, it said in a Singapore exchange filing. GLP didn’t give further details of the bidding groups.

A purchase of GLP, which owns industrial property in China, Japan, the U.S. and Brazil, would help an acquirer take advantage of a boom in demand for warehouse space from e-commerce companies like Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and JD.com Inc. GLP said in December it would conduct a strategic review of options to improve shareholder value after a request from its biggest investor, Singapore sovereign fund GIC Pte. 

Spokesmen for Hopu and Warburg Pincus didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Representatives or officials at Blackstone, GLP and Hillhouse declined to comment.

Biggest Buyout

Since Bloomberg News first reported takeover interest in GLP, the company’s shares have soared 46 percent through the end of last week, valuing it at about $11.5 billion including debt. At that level, a purchase of the industrial property owner would be the largest-ever buyout of an Asian company, surpassing last year’s takeover of Qihoo 360 Technology Co., data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Hopu was part of a consortium that invested $2.5 billion in GLP’s Chinese business in 2014. Fang, the private equity firm’s founder, joined the GLP investment committee that year and was appointed to the Singapore company’s board as a non-executive director.

Mei, a former executive at U.S. industrial property developer Prologis Inc., owns about 1.1 percent of GLP, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Hillhouse, which oversees more than $20 billion of assets, owns an 8.2 percent stake, the data show.

In 2014, Hillhouse raised $2.2 billion for its first pool dedicated to private equity investments. It was followed by a second private equity fund early last year that gathered $4.2 billion from investors. Hillhouse invests in both public and private equity with a focus on the consumer, telecommunications and technology, health care and business services industries. 

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