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PRIVATE EQUITY | Cesar Tordesillas, Malaysia

BofA, Goldman benefits from Malaysia deal boom

Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan are among the investment banks benefiting from the deal-making boom

State oil company Petronas announced the country's largest-ever outbound takeover by offering to buy its Canadian partner Progress Energy Resources Corp for $4.7 billion  to gain control of vast shale gas deposits to supply lucrative Asian markets as Malaysian palm oil firm Felda Global listed its $3.1 billion IPO with a 20 per cent pop.

Another $5 billion to $7 billion of Malaysian stock offerings are expected during the next year, turning Malaysia  into one of the most active deal centres in the world.

“I would imagine we're one of the few markets where head-hunters are paying any interest at the moment by virtue of the fact that things are happening,” said Steve Clayton, senior country officer for J.P. Morgan Malaysia.

Driving the boom is a combination of government-led divestitures, election-year politicking and steady economic growth across Southeast Asia.

BofA-Merrill scored the mandate to advise Petronas, the bank's fourth M&A advisory role with the oil giant, and it also has a role in the upcoming $2 billion IPO of Malaysia's IHH Healthcare.

Goldman does not have an advisory role in the Petronas deal, but stands at No. 2 in Malaysian M&A, having worked on four deals worth $3.9 billion.

Goldman was also the sole arranger for the $1.75 billion private placement of 1MDB Energy, a unit of Malaysia's government-owned investment company.

The deal was one of the biggest privately placed U.S. dollar bonds on record from Asia. Thomson Reuters publication IFR said in an article on the deal that Goldman may have made between $21.8 million to $30.6 million handling the sale, dwarfing the six-figure sums that typically come with such a trade.

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