AusNet Agrees to a Multi-billon Dollar Takover Deal with Brookfield
AusNet also added that rival bidder APA Group was free to make a better counter offer
On 1st November, AusNet Services, Australian natural gas transmission company, announced that it has agreed to a binding takeover deal from a consortium including Brookfield Asset Management in a deal that values the business at A$10.2 billion (USD 7.7 billion). AusNet also added that rival bidder APA Group was free to make a better counter-offer.
AusNet, the energy infrastructure firm said it its statement that Brookfield’s latest offer values tha firm at A$2.65 a share (USD 1.99). The offer from Brookfield was more than APA’s a more complex A$2.60 per share (USD 1.95) offer in late September.
The company also announced that it has ended APA’s due diligence access after entering the binding agreement with Brookfield. AusNet also added that APA was looking to increase the cash component of the deal after it was reported that Brookfield may revise their own offer.
AusNet statement said, “APA did not indicate that it would be able to offer a full cash alternative or the value level at which any improvement to its indicative proposal could be made.”
APA described AusNet as "highly attractive," however, there was no comment from the company whether a new bid will be send for AusNet or not. APA is the largest natural gas infrastructure business in Australia and the company is looking to create a regional champion of gas distribution. APA sent a bid of A$9.66 billion (USD 7.25 billion) in late September and it was topped by Brookfield’s A$10.2 billion (USD 7.7 billion) bid.
AusNet said in its statement, “APA didn’t indicate that it would be able to offer a full cash alternative or the value level at which any improvement to its indicative proposal could be made. APA had been made aware that Brookfield might seek to make a revised proposal and were encouraged to have their best proposal in front of the AusNet Board at all times.”
The binding agreement with Brookfield has a a provision to terminate their deal if a better offer; however, AusNet said that there is an A$101.7 million (USD 76.33 million) break fee.
Singapore Power International Pte, is the largest shareholder in AusNet Services with 32.74% stake. The company supports the deal and intends to vote in favor of it. There were no comments about the stance of State Grid Corp. of China, who is the second largest stakeholder in AusNet.