AusNet Services Ltd., which owns Australian power transmission and distribution assets, will enter takeover talks after Brookfield Asset Management Inc. made an approach valuing the company at about A$9.6 billion ($7 billion).Melbourne-based AusNet, which serves about 1.5 million customers in southeastern Victoria state, has contacted its two largest holders, Singapore Power International Pte and State Grid Corp. of China, the company said Monday in a statement.Brookfield’s indicative offer of A$2.50 cash per share is a 17% premium to AusNet’s closing price Friday, according to the target. The parties will carry out due diligence and have agreed to negotiate on an exclusive basis for at least seven weeks.
The prospective deal follows a spate of M&A activity for infrastructure assets in Australia, including Sydney toll roads, energy company Spark Infrastructure Group and Sydney Airport.
“As the incumbent primary Victorian transmission network owner, AusNet is uniquely positioned for growth as the energy transition accelerates driven by decarbonization,” AusNet said in its statement.
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