Global pension and sovereign wealth funds are being courted for Australia's biggest container terminal stevedore DP World Australia.
Street Talk understands DP World Australia's biggest investor, New York and London-based infrastructure manager Corsair Infrastructure Partners, has investment bank Credit Suisse running an auction to find new owners for a 75 per cent stake in the port operator that is expected to be worth more than $2 billion.
But it is not a standard asset auction where one buyer will walk away with the lot.
Sources in Dubai, where DP World Australia's global parent company is based, said the deal was structured as an "unlisted IPO bookbuild".
Big global and domestic institutional investors have been asked to bid for shares in a new fund that would jointly bid for the 75 per cent stake, similar to an initial public offering. The new fund would be managed by Corsair.
The deal would allow Corsair to cash out its existing investors that own the 75 per cent DP World Australia stake, including Australia's Future Fund and Canada's PSP Investments. Corsair and its co-investors are liquidating the fund that owns DP World Australia.
If successful, DP World Australia would have a new set of underlying investors - but it Corsair would still be calling the shots on their behalf. It is understood the auction is largely being run offshore and is targeted at big offshore funds.
The deal is expected to trigger pre-emptive rights held by DP World Australia's 25 per cent shareholder, Dubai-based DP World.
Corsair did not respond to a request for comment. A Credit Suisse spokesman declined to comment.
DP World Australia operates at each of the country's four big container ports in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Fremantle. DP World Australia (Holdings) Pty Ltd reported $583 million revenue in the year to December 31 and $1.83 billion in assets according to accounts filed with ASIC.