UPDATE 3-Origin Energy Backs Brookfield Consortium’s $11.8 Billion Takeover Bid

(Adds comments from Brookfield, original comment)

By Samir Manekar

Nov 10 (Reuters) – Origin Energy Ltd, Australia’s second-largest power producer and energy distributor, has backed an A$18.4 billion ($11.8 billion) non-binding takeover bid from a consortium led by Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management, the companies announced on Thursday.

Origin opened its books to the consortium after raising its offer to A$9 per share in cash, a nearly 55% premium to Origin’s last close of A$5.81. The company said it would recommend shareholders vote in favor of the proposal if no superior offer emerges.

If successful, the takeover would be the biggest private equity buyout of an Australian company and the country’s biggest deal this year, according to Refinitiv data.

Brookfield’s offer comes after it was rebuffed earlier this year after it led a $3.5 billion takeover bid for Australia’s biggest power producer, AGL Energy.

“Our confidence in Origin’s prospects underscored our commitment to the Consortium and enabled a significant increase in their initial offering,” Origin President Scott Perkins said in a statement.

Origin first revealed that it had received an initial cash offer of AU$7.95 apiece in early August from the consortium, which was raised to between AU$8.70 and AU$8.90 per share at the mid-September.

According to the indicative proposal submitted on Thursday, Brookfield would acquire Origin’s energy markets business, while MidOcean Energy, the other consortium partner, would take control of Origin’s integrated gas business, including its 27.5% stake in Australia Pacific LNG (APLNG).

Origin is seeking to accelerate its transition to cleaner energy, accelerating the planned shutdown of the country’s largest coal-fired power plant and selling off its gas exploration assets.

“Our business plan includes an additional investment of A$20 billion by 2030 to build the necessary renewable capacity and storage and position Origin as Australia’s premier greentailer,” Brookfield’s chief executive said. for the Asia-Pacific region, Stewart Upson, in a press release. ($1 = A$1.5562) (Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Sonali Paul in Melbourne and Scott Murdoch in Sydney; Editing by Maju Samuel and Lincoln Feast)

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