Wednesday, March 22

Australia’s AGL rejects higher bid offer from tech billionaire, Brookfield

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Australia’s top power producer AGL Energy Ltd on Sunday rejected an increased takeover offer proposal from tech billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes and Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management, Cannon-Brookes said on his Twitter account.

The joint offer of A$8.25 ($6.08) per share, came after AGL rejected its initial offer of A$7.50 last month.

“This weekend, the board rejected our raised offer,” Cannon-Brookes wrote. The AGL board decided to stick to its demerger path, he added.

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Brookfield and AGL were not immediately available to comment on Sunday.

The ABC (The Australian Broadcasting Corporation) said the revised offer was made on Friday, without citing sources.

AGL had rejected the initial unsolicited takeover overture, which valued it at A$4.94 billion ($3.64 billion), saying the proposal undervalued the business.

The joint bid from Cannon-Brookes and Brookfield came as AGL seeks to split itself in two – a retail and renewable energy operation and a coal-fired generation business – by June in an attempt to turn around a 75% slump in its market value over the past five years.

Brookfield and Cannon-Brookes, Australia’s second-richest man, said their goal was to speed up delivery of cleaner and cheaper energy. AGL, Australia’s biggest polluter, produces more than 8% of Australia’s carbon emissions.

($1 = 1.3569 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Juby Babu in Bengaluru and Lidia Kelly in Melbourne; Writing by Lidia Kelly. Editing by Jane Merriman)