MYOB Could Be Rare Australian Sponsor Handoff

Bain Capital and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. are among potential bidders for Australian software company MYOB Ltd, which could be sold for around A$1 billion ($1 billion), three sources familiar with the matter told sister news service Reuters. Archer Capital and HarbourVest Partners LLC, which acquired MYOB for around A$450 million in 2008, have hired UBS to advise on the sale, two of the sources said.

The sources were not authorized to talk to the media.

UBS and KKR declined to comment. Archer and HarbourVest could not immediately be reached for comment. Bain did not offer an immediate comment. Bids were expected by mid-August, according to one of the sources. The company has earnings before EBITDA of around A$100 million, said two sources.

Archer and HarbourVest acquired MYOB backed by A$250 million in five-year debt from BOS International Australia, ANZ, Westpac Banking Corp., GE Commercial Finance, Calyon, Royal Bank of Scotland, UBS and WestLB, Thomson Reuters LPC reported at the time.

The company, which makes accounting software, was listed on the Australian stock before being taken private. It was started more than 20 years ago. Archer spent more than A$1 billion in a buying spree that saw it acquire V8 Supercars Australia, Healthe Care and Quick Service Restaurant Holdings in the space of six weeks.

Australia’s private equity firms are more likely to offload their companies in the months ahead to other deal-hungry buyout firms than brave fragile equity markets with a float. So-called secondary deals between private equity firms are relatively rare in Australia, partly because of the smaller scale of the industry, compared with the U.S. and U.K. markets.

But pressure to deploy funds raised during the boom years and a re-opening of credit spigots mean that buyout firms are taking a closer look at the assets of their rivals, often with a view to growing a company beyond its initial phase of development.

“We see the potential for increased activity in the secondary sponsor-to-sponsor market, as PE firms look to exit from the large volume of deals made during fiscal 2006 and 2007,” said Katherine Woodthorpe, chief executive of the Australian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association

(Stephen Aldred is a correspondent for Reuters in Hong Kong; additional reporting by Victoria Thieberger.)