Electricity and gas distribution company AusNet Services has agreed to a binding takeover offer from a consortium including Brookfield Asset Management in a deal that values the business at A$10.2 billion.
After a bidding war with rival APA, Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management has, according to Bloomberg, had its $10.2 billion binding takeover bid accepted by AusNet, which owns and operates Victoria’s electricity transmission network, as well as electricity and gas distribution networks.
Gas company APA Group attempted to outbid the Brookfield consortium, talking up its ability to keep vital infrastructure in Australian hands, saying the Brookfield deal would mean 100 per cent of Victoria’s electricity distribution and transmission infrastructure would be foreign owned.
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“Unlike many OECD countries, Australia lacks a locally-owned and controlled energy utility with capabilities across critical energy infrastructure and with the size and strength to partner with government and the community to deliver the energy transition,” APA chief executive Rob Wheals said.
Brookfield came back strong though, putting forward an all-cash offer of $2.65 per share, winning the unanimous support of AusNet’s Board.
The Brookfield consortium, which includes pension funds Sunsuper, Alberta Investment Management Corp., the Investment Management Corporation of Ontario and Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan, said it saw AusNet as a multi-decade investment pivotal to Australia’s clean energy transition.