Centro Says Its Getting Offers

There's some good news on the Centro front. The company says it has been receiving offers--both for parts and all of the company--so now the firm is officially "seeking expressions of interest for key alternatives." The New York Times also reported on the inquiries.

That's great news. The worst case would have been that no one would step forward because of difficulties in financing a large acquisition, forcing Centro to reach its deadline with lenders with no deal in hand. The big question, of course, is who will step forward?

As has been pointed out, Centro's properties seem fine. The issue is purely one of timing. Centro took out a lot of short-term debt before the market turned and now can't refinance. But that has nothing to do with the quality of its assets. So it would seem that as long as someone could find a way to finance a transaction, Centro's U.S. properties would be a great haul.

"In recent days, we have received a significant number of unsolicited expressions of interest from a range of strategic and financial investors in potential investments in the group and certain of our assets," Centro chairman Brian Healey said.

"Therefore, as part of the strategic review process, Centro is now seeking expressions of interest for key alternatives available to it."

The company said expressions would be sought for a `whole of group review' including recapitalisation, equity issuance or acquisition of Centro.

Other options included acquisition of Centro's interests in Australian and US funds.

"This will enable interested parties to substantiate their interest, and for all such proposals to be evaluated from the perspective of the best interests of all Centro stakeholders," Mr Healey said.

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