The bid has gained some early traction, winning support from the fund’s largest shareholder, Hume Partners, a boutique investment platform backed by the family office of Rich Lister Peter Scanlon.
Hume has proven to be an instrumental player in the fund’s fortunes in recent years, joining with Hong Kong-based hedge fund Maso Capital, private investor Valtellina Properties and Rich Lister Sam Tarascio to scupper the merger plan earlier this year.
At the time, investors in the listed fund – which has a portfolio of seven office buildings in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Canberra – were unimpressed by the opportunity to diversify their portfolio with smaller, retail assets.
When it became clear at least 40 per cent of the register was against the merger, Australian Unity announced it was switching tack, to pursue both the option of individual asset sales while opening up the prospect of portfolio sale through a corporate transaction.
Alongside Daniel Wise, Mr Southon co-founded Aliro Group in 2017, after stepping down from Charter Hall a year earlier.
With around $1.6 billion under management so far and a pipeline worth as much $4.5 billion, the Aliro platform has been growing rapidly, including through a run of industrial acquisitions. It is also involved in a build-to-rent venture.