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The break-up of Australian logistics giant Asciano between local and international suitors cleared a key hurdle Thursday after the nation's corporate regulator approved their Aus$9.05 billion (US$6.78 billion) bid. The takeover announced in March will see the rail, freight and ports operator's assets split between Canada's Brookfield Infrastructure Group, Australia's Qube and other consortium members, including a Chinese sovereign wealth fund. The consortiums now need a sign-off from Australia's foreign investment advisory body after the decision by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
A multi-billion-dollar deal to break up Australian logistics giant Asciano between local and international suitors hit a hurdle Thursday after a key corporate regulator raised concerns about reduced competition at ports. The Aus$9.05 billion (US$6.5 billion) takeover, announced in March, would see the rail, freight and ports operator's assets split between a consortium led by Canada's Brookfield Infrastructure Group and one headed by Australia's Qube that includes a Chinese sovereign wealth fund. A key concern was that the vertical integration of container terminals and transport providers at ports could disadvantage other companies providing similar services, and "raise rivals' costs", regulator Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said.
Australian ports and rail operator Asciano on Tuesday recommended shareholders accept a US$6.3 billion takeover bid by a consortium including a Chinese sovereign wealth fund, leaving rival suitor Canadian asset manager Brookfield out in the cold. Australian-led Qube Holdings -- including China's CIC Capital Corporation, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and investment group Global Infrastructure Partners -- submitted a revised offer this month with an implied value of Aus$9.17 per Asciano share. The move was a direct challenge to an earlier, inferior bid by Brookfield Infrastructure Partners, which has been chasing Asciano since July.