The takeover of Patrick, and the rest of Asciano, has looked settled and then unsettled already this week. Earlier this week it appeared the takeover of port and rail company Asciano had been won by Qube, but it has been reported a Canadian group, headed by Brookfield, are considering a higher counter offer.
Qube, lead by former Patrick boss, Chris Corrigan, still look to be in the box seat, after the decision of the Asciano board to change it’s position on the two bids it had received and reject Brookfield in favour of Qube.
“The Asciano board has withdrawn its recommendation of the Brookfield proposal to separately acquire Asciano by way of a takeover offer or scheme of arrangement,” was how Qube reported the situation.
The complexity of the situation looks like it will continue to increase. Asciano has formally backed the Qube bid and the revised Brookfield bid looks to be likely to meet major regulatory hurdles from the ACCC.
Qube’s bid of $8.9 billion would see the control of the freight rail arm of the Asciano operation, Pacific National, pass to partners in the bid, Global Infrastructure Management, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and CIC Capital Corporation of China. This would leave Qube, and Corrigan, back controlling the business’s port, logistics and road transport business.
Brookfield’s initial bid had come under scrutiny over the fact the resulting operation would own both rail track and rolling stock in some areas, reducing competition. This bid looks likely to be upped to $9.05 billion. However, more scrutiny is likely to come its way with the latest entrant into the consortium, Qatar’s Sovereign Wealth Fund, attracting the interest of regulators.