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May 23, 2019

Brookfield, Blackstone among bidders for Genesee & Wyoming railroad operator

Genesee & Wyoming Inc

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Affiliates of Brookfield Asset Management Inc. (BAMa.TO), Blackstone Group LP, Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners and EQT Partners are vying to acquire railroad operator Genesee & Wyoming Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.

The investment firms are among suitors that have progressed into the next round of bidding for the company, said the people, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. The company is seeking at least US$110 per share (GWR.N), they said. A deal at that price would value Genesee & Wyoming’s equity at about US$6.2 billion, based its 56.5 million shares of common stock outstanding at April 1, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Some of the investment firms may team up while others are partnering with potential co-investors such as pension and sovereign wealth funds, the people said.

There is no guarantee these discussions will lead to a sale, they said.

Representatives for Brookfield, Blackstone, Stonepeak and EQT declined to comment. Representatives for Genesee & Wyoming didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Genesee & Wyoming shares jumped as much 11% on the news before paring some of the gains to US$94.15 at 3:22 p.m. in New York trading, giving the Darien, Connecticut-based company a market value of about US$5.4 billion.

In March, Bloomberg News reported the company was working with an adviser to explore selling all or part of itself and had begun discussions with suitors.

Genesee & Wyoming owns or leases more than 100 short line and regional freight railroads serving the U.S. and Canada.

It doesn’t compete directly with the largest North American railroads such as Union Pacific Corp., CSX Corp. and Canadian National Railway Co.