Australia's Brambles ends $14 billion takeover talks with CVC Capital

·1 min read
Forklift operator moves stack of pallets at Brambles-owned CHEP pallet depot in Sydney

(Reuters) - Australia's Brambles Ltd said on Tuesday European private-equity firm CVC Capital Partners has ended preliminary talks with the company over a potential A$20 billion ($14 billion) takeover offer, citing external market volatility.

The development comes a day after the Australian logistics firm confirmed it was evaluating the offer, which would have been one of the biggest private-equity-backed takeovers in the country. It had not put a number on the deal.

Shares of Brambles dropped 6% to A$10.9 by 0009 GMT on Tuesday. They had soared 11.2% on the previous day, giving it a market valuation of A$16.65 billion at the close of trading.

The company said CVC will not be putting forward a proposal or seeking to conduct a detailed due diligence at the moment due to the "current external market volatility", without divulging further details.

Global markets have experienced wild volatility in recent months as COVID-19 restrictions in some countries and Russia's invasion of Ukraine since February blocked supply chains and sent energy prices soaring.

Brambles, which rents crates and pallets globally to fast-moving consumer goods companies including retailing giant Walmart, hiked its annual underlying profit expectations last month to 6%-7% on prior year.

A pandemic-fuelled boom in e-commerce activity and a current crunch in container availability has placed the group's business in a favourable position, making it an attractive target for buyout firms.

CVC, which had been missing from Australia after a A$1.8 billion loss on its investment in Nine Entertainment in October 2012, did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Savyata Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva and Uttaresh.V)

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