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Pension fund AustralianSuper, the biggest shareholder in the country’s top energy retailer, Origin Energy, said on Thursday it would reject a revised acquisition offer for the utility of $12.5 billion (AUS$19 billion).
A consortium led by Brookfield and EIG has proposed to acquire Origin Energy Limited and its best and final proposal of AUS $9.53 per share significantly raised the cash consideration, Origin Energy said early this month.
Origin Energy’s shareholders were expected to vote on the proposal on November 23, but today Origin Energy adjourned the vote to December 4, after receiving on the evening of November 22 a non-binding and indicative proposal from the Brookfield-led consortium of investors and EIG to amend the current Revised Proposal.
“To allow time to consider the Revised Proposal and other relevant matters, Origin has determined to adjourn today’s Scheme Meeting to Monday 4 December 2023,” Origin Energy said on Thursday.
“Origin also advises that based on the proxy votes received to date, had the Scheme Meeting proceeded today, it is unlikely that the Scheme would have achieved the required 75 percent approval by shareholders.”
The top shareholder in Origin Energy, pension fund AustralianSuper with a stake of more than 17%, said that it would vote against the proposed terms of the acquisition.
“This latest low-ball offer strengthens AustralianSuper’s view that the offer remains substantially below our estimate of Origin’s long-term value,” AustralianSuper said in a statement, as carried by Bloomberg.
“AustralianSuper is resolute the value and future value of Origin is better in the hands of AustralianSuper members and other shareholders than a private equity consortium planning to shortchange them.”
Blair Thomas, CEO of EIG, told Reuters in an interview that the consortium was done talking to AustralianSuper.
“What is frustrating is no point in time have they said what they would find acceptable,” Thomas said.
“We are going to provide an alternative where the majority of shareholders can control their own destiny.”
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.