AusSuper Said to Knock Back Brookfield Overtures on Origin Deal

AusSuper Said to Knock Back Brookfield Overtures on Origin Deal

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(Bloomberg) — The largest shareholder in Origin Energy Ltd. has declined further talks with private equity firms Brookfield Asset Management and EIG Global Energy Partners over a A$19.4 billion ($12.6 billion) takeover plan.

AustralianSuper has maintained its commitment to scupper the deal during the weekend, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified as they were not authorized to speak publicly. The $300 billion Australian pension fund has no interest in participating in the take-private at its current price as a co-investor and may make further statements in the week ahead reiterating its opposition to the deal, said one of the people. 

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There is nothing stopping the camps from recommencing dialogue and a resolution might yet be found, cautioned the people.

Representatives of the Brookfield consortium and AusSuper declined to comment when reached.

The failed overtures underline a deep frostiness in relations between the two megafunds, and set both sides up for a pitched and public campaign over the attempted takeover of Australia’s largest energy provider. 

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It comes after the consortium sought fresh talks with the pension giant in a last ditch effort to rescue its take-private plan Bloomberg News reported. Backup options included weighing a seat for the fund as a member of the take private consortium, as well as resurrecting the transaction in new form as an off-market takeover offer should a shareholder vote to approve it on Nov. 23 falter.

The Brookfield group had attempted to bring its 12-month-old pursuit to a head on Thursday by raising its offer to a binding “best and final” bid by about A$1.2 billion. 

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But AustralianSuper — the country’s largest pension fund and the company’s largest shareholder — swiftly deemed it “substantially below our estimate of Origin’s long-term value,” citing the target’s green ambitions as a compelling reason for a higher price.

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