By David Winning
SYDNEY – Australian electricity distributor AusNet Services Ltd. stated that it has accepted an enhanced takeover offer from a consortium led by Brookfield Asset Management Inc. which it deems superior to a competing proposal from APA Group.
AusNet said the consortium’s new cash offering valued its equity at A $ 10.2 billion (US $ 7.67 billion), or A $ 2.65 per share, and that main shareholder Singapore Power Ltd. said he intended to vote in favor of the proposal.
The Brookfield-led consortium includes the Australian Sunsuper Superannuation Fund, and Canadian pension funds and asset managers Alberta Investment Management Corp., Investment Management Corp. of Ontario and Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan.
AusNet has been the subject of several takeover bids by Brookfield and APA in recent weeks.
APA’s most recent offering, which included a mix of cash and stocks, was worth A $ 2.60 per share.
“On October 31, AusNet received a firm offer from Brookfield at A $ 2.65 per share which was conditional on a program implementing deed being signed by 10 p.m. the same day, otherwise the offer farm would expire, “AusNet said.
AusNet said it accepted a deal because it was concerned the offer would expire and it was aware that Singapore Power, which owns 32.74% of the company’s shares, preferred an all-cash offer. In addition, APA had not indicated that it would be able to offer an all-cash alternative at a higher level than its previous offerings, AusNet said.
AusNet has said it would be required to pay Brookfield a breach fee of A $ 101.7 million if its board later decides to recommend a competing proposal.
Write to David Winning at david.[email protected]