Toll Holdings’ tenacious, contentious, audacious and tension-packed $4.6 billion takeover of Patrick Corporation takes the cake and the prize. Sure, Toll paid a big price for its major competitor, but CEO Paul Little and his advisors executed brilliantly and finally outsmarted arch-rivals Chris Corrigan and Peter Scanlan, then cajoled Graeme Samuel and the ACCC in order to proclaim a moral victory. After the deal came the mopping up and carving up, without a hint of industrial or other problems, and the bonus of seeing Virgin Blue soar and stay within the Toll fold. All of which led to a nice little pre-Christmas re-rating of its stock. With hindsight, this was textbook execution.
ABC Learning, which continued to buy up the world’s child care centres.
Sydney Futures Exchange, which sold itself to ASX for a fortune and then managed to get their bloke up to run the lot.
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PBL, for selling its old media assets — for a huge price at the top of the market — into a new company funded by the CVC private equity group.
2005 winner: “Graeme Hart’s food asset swapping has delivered him a clear profit of more than $1 billion thanks to the $2.1 billion float of 80% of Goodman Fielder, which Burns Philp bought for $2 billion in 2003.”