Ferrovial, Bouygues and Acciona in the race to buy John Holland

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Ferrovial, Bouygues and Acciona in the race to buy John Holland

According to sources, Leighton Holdings Ltd. (LEI), the Australian builder controlled by Hochtief AG, has received several bids for its AU$1 billion-plus construction business John Holland. We understand that first-round bids for the business closed on 24 July 2014.

The mentioned sources said that Spanish firms Acciona and Ferrovial, and France's  Bouygues are among the companies that have bid for John Holland.Singaporean group ARA Asset Management could also be a rival, while a global private equity firm  KKR could buy services assets being sold by Leighton.

Leighton Holdings Limited acquired a 70 percent shareholding in John Holland in February 2000, which increased to 100% in 2007.

Leighton Holdings's assets are being put up for sale as part of a new value creation strategy of the firm, following a takeover bid this year by Hochtief. Leighton Holdings's 70% owner Hochtief took over the Australian company's management in March with a view to streamlining its myriad businesses, slashing costs and increasing profitability. Hochtief is controlled by Spain's ACS Group.

A process for a potential sale of the business is being run for Leighton Holdings by Macquarie Capital, which is also handling the sell down of Leighton's services operations.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch is also handling the sale of Leighton Properties, while Goldman Sachs is handling the sale of residential developer Devine Group, of which Leighton owns more than 50%.

Leighton Holdings recently borrowed money to increase its dividend 27% as Executive Chairman Marcelino Fernandez Verdes switches from investing to paying shareholders.

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