APA Trumps Brookfield’s $ 7 Billion AusNet Offer in Reviving Mergers and Acquisitions

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(Bloomberg) – Natural gas infrastructure firm APA Group trumped Brookfield Asset Management Inc.’s $ 7 billion bid for AusNet Services Ltd. as Australia saw unprecedented volume of mergers and acquisitions.

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Sydney-based APA made a non-binding indicative proposal of A $ 2.60 ($ 1.89) per share, the company said in a statement on Tuesday. AusNet, which owns Australia’s power transmission and distribution equipment, said Monday it had received an offer of A $ 2.50 per share from Brookfield and said it would negotiate on an exclusive basis.

“APA acknowledges yesterday’s announcement by AusNet of an indicative, non-binding, strict conditional offer from Brookfield Asset Management,” said APA. “APA is disappointed that AusNet has claimed to have an exclusivity period with Brookfield for an effective eight weeks.”

Brookfield, APA Group enters bidding war for Ausnet: M&A snapshot

AusNet said Tuesday it would consider APA’s revised proposal once Brookfield’s exclusivity period ends. The company jumped up to 10% to A $ 2.60 after trading resumed Tuesday after rising a record 19% on Monday. APA decreased by up to 6%.

Australia is facing its biggest quarter for transactions on record after a spate of infrastructure asset M&A activity, including the Sydney toll roads, energy company Spark Infrastructure Group and Sydney Airport. As of early July, there have been nearly A $ 88 billion in M&A deals targeting Australian companies, the highest total of any quarter since at least 1998, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

APA said in the statement that it reached out to AusNet on Sept. 1 with an offer of A $ 2.32 per share and that it had the original proposal with State Grid Corp. of China, the second largest owner of AusNet. The APA said it informed AusNet on Sept. 16 that it intended to make a revised offer.

(Updates with Ausnet share price in the fourth paragraph.)

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