EQT, Macquarie Eye Morgan Stanley’s 40% PNE Stake
(Bloomberg) — EQT AB and Macquarie Group Ltd. are among potential suitors eyeing Morgan Stanley’s 40% stake in German wind park developer PNE AG, people familiar with the matter said, as investors scout for renewable assets.
The infrastructure arms of both firms have looked at the stake, though it remains unclear whether they’ll proceed with offers, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information.
The seller has also gauged interest among energy and utility companies including oil giant BP Plc and BayWa r.e., a joint venture between Energy Infrastructure Partners and BayWa AG, according to the people. Several parties have decided against bidding amid concerns about a complicated shareholder structure and price expectations, they said.
Shares of PNE jumped as much as 4.8% on Monday. They were up 3.3% to €23.50 at 2:19 p.m. in Frankfurt, giving the company a market value of about €1.8 billion ($1.9 billion).
Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners agreed to acquire its 40% holding in PNE in 2019 at €4 per share. The stock has soared since then, fueled by strong energy prices and a push for emission-free power generation. Morgan Stanley is seeking offers of more than €25 a share for its stake, one of the people said.
Under German securities rules, any acquisition of Morgan Stanley’s stake would trigger a mandatory offer for the remainder of PNE’s shares. Deliberations are ongoing and there’s no certainty they’ll result in a transaction.
“We received several expressions of interest,” PNE’s Chief Executive Officer Markus Lesser said at a small and mid-cap conference in Frankfurt last week. “Any decision will take until February or March next year.”
Representatives for BP, EQT, Macquarie and Morgan Stanley declined to comment, while spokespeople for BayWa r.e. and PNE didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
PNE is one of the biggest developers of wind farms in Germany. It has sites across Europe and has been expanding in Latin America, Africa and Asia, according to its website. The company’s shares gained last month when Warburg Research GmbH analyst Jan Bauer upgraded the company on earnings that were better than expected.
(Updates with share move in fourth paragraph)