Blair Thomas, CEO of EIG Partners, remains optimistic that the Brookfield-EIG consortium can secure approval for its $10.5 billion bid for Origin Energy, despite resistance from AustralianSuper, the top shareholder of the Australian electricity and gas company. The consortium proposed A$8.91 per share for Origin Energy, Australia’s second-largest power producer. However, the deal led by Brookfield requires the backing of 75% of the shares voted.
AustralianSuper, currently holding 15.03% of Origin, has expanded its stake in the company, potentially complicating the buyout spearheaded by Canada’s Brookfield. AustralianSuper, along with others, believes Origin is undervalued. Origin agreed to the Brookfield-led offer in March, marking one of Australia’s largest deals of the year. Yet, Origin’s shares have been trading significantly below the offer price due to concerns over competition.
Australia’s anti-trust watchdog delayed its decision on the deal by two weeks last week, pushing the date to Oct. 12. Brookfield’s offer is contingent on several conditions, including regulatory approval. If these conditions are met, all of Origin’s shareholders will have the chance to voice their opinions through a vote. A number of major investors and analysts have voiced that the Brookfield-led offer does not fully reflect the company’s value.
On Thursday, shares of Origin Energy saw a slight increase of 0.4%, closing at A$8.70, despite a 1.4% drop in the broader market. Based on the closing price and calculations by Reuters, AustralianSuper’s additional investment in the company is now estimated to be worth around A$150 million.