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Secret $7m payment to C.Y. Leung agreed to on same day rival bidder trumped UGL offer
A secret ￡4 million ($7 million) payment to Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung by Australian engineering company UGL was agreed to on the same day a rival bidder trumped UGL's offer for his property firm by about ￡100 million.
The higher bid was rejected and Sydney-based UGL bought DTZ for ￡77.5 million and is now selling it, with other assets, to US private equity group TPG Capital for about $1 billion.
One condition of the ￡4 million payment to Mr Leung was that he "support the acquisition of the DTZ group by UGL", according to a letter outlining the agreement.
The letter doesn't mention the rival bid. But an administrators' report into DTZ after the sale mentioned a rival "confidential" offer that valued DTZ at about ￡100 million more than UGL.
The other bidder was later revealed as China's state-owned Tianjin Innovation Financial Investment Company.
The higher bid from Tianjin was rejected by the DTZ board, which included Mr Leung, who ran DTZ's fast-growing Hong Kong and China business. DTZ's creditors agreed with the decision and deemed the bid too risky because it would have taken eight weeks to complete and required shareholder approval.
Two bankers who worked on the deal confirmed they believed the offer from Tianjin was superior.
"We felt we had a better offer," said one banker who declined to be named. "It was very frustrating at the time."