A takeover by Brookfield Asset Management could involve a partial buy back by Roberts family

The founders of Wembley contractor Multiplex are in talks with Canada-based asset developer Brookfield Asset Management over a potential takeover of the firm.

Multiplex, which revealed last week that it had received a takeover approach from a mystery bidder, announced today that Brookfield Asset Management had made a formal approach which may lead to an offer involving a partial buy-back by the Roberts family, Multiplex’s founders.

Andrew Roberts, Multiplex
Multiplex chief executive Andrew Roberts

Andrew Roberts, Multiplex chief executive and Tim Roberts, Multiplex managing director developments, have taken leave of absence while the talks progress, as has their sister Denby Macgregor, another director.

Ross McDiven, currently chief operating officer, and Bob McKinnon, currently chief financial officer, have been appointed joint managing directors. Multiplex said that if talks broke down, it was envisaged that the Roberts' would resume their roles.

Multiplex said that no potential acquisition price had yet been provided. However, Brookfield said today that its proposal contemplated an all-cash offer for the non-trust businesses of Multiplex - which could comprise the group’s property development, construction, property funds management and facilities management businesses.

It is understood that the approach does not involve Multiplex’s property trust, which invests in premium office buildings.

In a statement, Multiplex said: “Brookfield has sought the board’s approval to enter into discussions with RFN [Roberts Family Nominees, the Roberts family company] to develop a proposal and has indicated that any proposal put forward by Brookfield would be conditional on the involvement of RFN. The board has today consented to those discussions taking place.”

RFN said that it believed the Brookfield approach had merit, but said it had not entered any exclusivity arrangement with Brookfield or any other party.

Brookfield is listed in Canada and the United States and has about £25 bn of property, power and other infrastructure assets under management.