Brookfield bites back in battle for Asciano


Logistics giant’s Initial suitor plays own blocking card after Qube’s share purchase but ACCC may have final say on outcome

Brookfield bites back in battle for Asciano
Asciano is the subject of a tug of war.

 

In a battle that is becoming as willing as Toll’s Patrick takeover a decade ago, Brookfield Infrastructure Partners has nabbed 19.2 per cent of Asciano’s shares to meet Qube’s recent 19.9 per cent purchase.

Brookfield says it has bought 14.9 per cent "off-market" and has "entered into arrangements giving it economic interests in a further approximately 4.3% of Asciano".

Media speculation is that the move is designed to force a Qube consortium takeover offer.

The Corporations Act provides a 20 per cent share purchase trigger after which a takeover offer must be made. 

The fight is promising as many twists as that for Patrick, with Brookfield asking Asciano to delay Tuesday’s ‘scheme meeting’ for shareholders to vote on the takeover.

"Brookfield Infrastructure intends to keep its existing scheme of arrangement in place for the time being, however, it has requested a deferral of the scheme meeting," the Canadian infrastructure investor says

The has pledged to make a share purchase offer for outstanding shares, worth A$9.22 each in cash and its own shares, which it offered under ‘standard consideration’ that was agreed under the takeover ‘scheme of arrangement’.

Brookfield shares are trading on the New York Stock Exchange at US$41.92 (A$58.65).

It also wants additional conditions to avoid having to pay more to shareholders under the takeover than the ‘standard consideration’ and to "deal with the interaction of the bid and the scheme, which will remain on foot".

As with the complicated and sometimes bitter Patrick takeover, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is taking an interest in both sides, with a ‘monitoring’ assessment underway on Qube’s share acquisition in partnership with Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), which follows an ‘informal review’ of the Brookfield bid that began two months ago.

The deadline for submissions on Brookfield’s bid ended on Wednesday.

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