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Macquarie in Patrick takeover bid

Australia's largest securities firm, Macquarie Bank has announced a takeover bid for Patrick Corp, the country's biggest cargo holder.

The bid, of an undisclosed sum, will top rival company Toll Holdings' bid of $4.5 billion, a statement from the Australian banking giant said.

Toll Holdings, the main rival of Patrick in the cargo holding business, looked certain to secure a deal when its own bid was accepted by Patrick's board, but Macquarie now appears prepared to scupper those plans.

If the takeover goes ahead, it will be just the latest in a series of investments in infrastructure by the Sydney-based bank, which reportedly paid a record $3.85 billion for a toll road in India, as well as acquiring the explosives maker Dyno Noble and Copenhagen Airport last year.

Such an appetite has made Macquarie the single largest owner of infrastructure assets in the world, barring world governments.

It is believed that Macquarie's bid will come from a consortium of investors from Hong Kong, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.

Shares in Patrick reacted well to the news of the proposed bid, rising three and a half per cent today.