Contractor to be sold to asset manager Brookfield for £3.1bn

The family that set up Wembley contractor Multiplex in 1962 is selling it to Canadian firm Brookfield Asset Management for Aus$7.3bn (£3.1bn), including debt.

The Roberts family has recommended a bid of Aus$5.05 (£2.15) a share and will sell its 26% stake for about Aus$1bn (£426m). Australian analysts said it was a good deal for both businesses.

It is the end of an era for the group, which is recognised as a successful player in the Australian market but which ran into trouble in the UK over Wembley, where it made a £147m loss.

The company was founded by John Roberts, who died last year, in Perth, western Australia. It is now based in Sydney.

Jeff Blidner
Jeff Blidner: aims to retain Multiplex staff.

A spokesperson for Brookfield would not be drawn on the company’s plans for Multiplex’s UK operation, saying that it was too make pronouncements.

He said: “We believe in the UK market, we have assets here, but Multiplex in the UK is not our immediate focus. The emphasis will be Australia and New Zealand. The challenges in the UK are well documented but we’re buying the future.”

Brookfield has agreed to buy the whole company, which includes construction, development, fund management and facilities management.

Andrew Roberts and brother Tim Roberts, both sons of the founder, have resigned as directors. Denby Macgregor, their sister, has resigned her position.

Bob McKinnon and Ross McDiven have been appointed joint managing directors.

Jeff Blidner, Brookfield’s managing partner, said that retention of the Multiplex management would be a priority.