The $20 billion takeover of Origin Energy (ASX:ORG) now hangs in the balance after AustralianSuper, the company’s biggest shareholder, rejected a higher takeover price on Thursday.
The rejection came only several hours after Brookfield of Canada and EIG of the US revealed a 69-cent increase, or a $1.2 billion lift in the value of the bid, bringing it to $20 billion. North America’s Brookfield and EIG raised their offer for Origin by 8% to $9.53 a share, declaring it “final” under the scheme deal.
Shares in Origin fell by more than 6% by 2:15 pm to $8.50, as investors bet on the deal collapsing.
AustralianSuper announced its intention to vote against the renewed offer at the November 23 meeting of shareholders to vote on a scheme of arrangement. They maintained the position that it was “substantially below our estimate of Origin’s long-term value.”
Origin chairman Scott Perkins, on Thursday, stated that the sweetened offer fully reflected the energy company’s assets and its “strategic positioning for the energy transition.” He encouraged all shareholders to vote in favor of the scheme.
In its Thursday statement, AustralianSuper doubled down on Monday’s rejection of the lower offer, stating that Origin had a “highly strategic portfolio of assets to participate in, and benefit from, the energy transition.” They believed that the ongoing energy transition, moving toward net-zero by 2050, had further enhanced the value of strategic energy transition platforms like Origin, whether public or private.