Genex gets $319m offer led by tech billionaire

Close-up of Atlassian co-founder Scott Farquhar
Atlassian co-founder Scott Farquhar

Australian renewable energy developer Genex Power has received an unsolicited $319 million takeover offer from two private equity firms, led by Atlassian co-founder Scott Farquhar, according to Reuters.

The offer of 23 Australian cents a share was pitched at a 70 per cent premium to Genex’s close last Friday. Its shares shot up 52 per cent to a high of 20.5 cents on Monday after the announcement, indicating investors don’t expect a higher offer.

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“The Genex Board has not yet formed a view on the merits of the Indicative Proposal or any potential further engagement with the Consortium,” Genex said.

The proposed bid, subject to due diligence, came from Farquhar’s Skip Essential Infrastructure Fund, which Genex said now owns a 19.99% stake in the company, and Stonepeak Partners LLC.

The bid comes as Australia’s Labor government pushes to speed up the transition to cleaner energy, aiming for the national electricity market to be 82 per cent powered by renewables, such as wind and solar, up from 30 per cent now by 2030.

Genex is building a pumped hydro energy storage project in Queensland, where it also has a solar farm. It recently raised $40 million for a battery project.

“We see strong promise in Genex’s portfolio,” Skip Capital CEO Kim Jackson said in a statement.

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Skip and Stonepeak aim to help Genex’s current management build the company to play a “substantially larger role in Australia’s energy transition”, she said.

Genex has appointed Goldman Sachs as an advisor on the proposed deal. The private equity consortium is being advised by Jarden and RBC Capital Markets.

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