Hirepool Group, the country's biggest equipment rental firm, has attracted private equity firms interested after testing the market for a buyer last month, Australian media has reported.

Australian private equity firms Crescent Capital and Anchorage Capital are among potential buyers for the Auckland-based company, the Australian newspaper reported today.

Hirepool minority shareholder Next Capital hired Greenstone Partners and PwC New Zealand to test the market last month, which has shaken out Crescent and Anchorage, along with smaller private equity firms Allegro and Platinum Private Equity.

Private equity firm Next Capital tried to sell Hirepool in a $262 million initial public offering in 2014 but pulled out when institutional investors pushed back against the sale price.


At the time Next owned 64 per cent of the rental firm and Macquarie Group owned 21 per cent, but both Australian firms have whittled down their stakes to 6.4 per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively, according to Companies Office records.

Since the attempted sale, Tenby Powell and Sharon Hunter have taken control of Hirepool with a 61 per cent holding via Hunter Powell Investments.

The Australian reported last month's plans to put Hirepool on the block suggested the company was valued at about A$300 million, citing unnamed sources, while a source close to the company who asked not to be named told BusinessDesk it could sell for up to NZ$400 million.