OWNERSHIP of the $1.5 billion Direct Factory Outlet retail chain is set to change, after its two main backers, David Goldberger and David Weiland, reportedly "assess their holdings."
The AFR reports the privately owned business wants "to attract new capital" to see it through the next phase of development. But if the price is right, the whole business could be sold outright, possibly to a larger shopping centre developer.
DFO was introduced in Australia 14 years ago in Moorabbin, and now includes eight centres, three homemaker centres and a potential premium shopping centre site, on the former DFO Spencer Street, in the Melbourne CBD.
"There's plenty more development to come. There's a lot of cities to go; Hobart, another site in Sydney, Perth, and we've looked at overseas," DFO chief executive Geoff Porz told the AFR "This is quite a big business now; it's a private business with four of us who are partners."
"We trade in good times because people are still brand-conscious. In tougher times, in 2009 and 2009, we experienced the greatest sale growth we've ever had."
Jones Lang Lasalle's Simon Rooney is marketing the portfolio to select domestic institutions and international groups.
The DFO directors have ruled out a float, according to the AFR, "but hopes an institutional backer will support its longer term ambitions."
The portfolio is expected to arouse interest from DFO rivals including Colonial First State Global Asset Management, Lend Lease, GIC Real Estate and ISPT.
Mr Porz said the final shape of an institutional backers involvement is yet to be determined.
Major DFOs are in Cairns, Brisbane Airport and Jindalee in Queensland, Homebush in Sydney, and as well as Moorabbin, South Wharf and Essendon Fields in Victoria. Canberra also has a DFO, while one is under construction in Hobart, according to the AFR.
More DFO Coverage:
DFO South Wharf Opens Today, as Outgoing Spencer DFO Converted to Mainstream Mall
DFO South Wharf, Melbourne, to Open October 15
DFO Owners Buy Chadstone Bulky Goods Development Site
South Docklands Takes Off