Out of his father’s shadow, Victor Li mounts $9.8b bid for Australia’s APA

Victor Li
Victor Li (left) speaks with Li Ka-shing during a news conference in Hong Kong, China, on Friday, March 16, 2018. Photographer: Anthony Kwan/Bloomberg

Hong Kong’s Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Ltd. offered A$13 billion ($9.8 billion) for Australian gas pipelines company APA Group, as new chairman Victor Li starts his tenure attempting the company’s biggest-ever takeover.

CKI offered A$11 per share in cash, or 33 percent more than Tuesday’s closing price, APA said in a statement Wednesday. The deal would bolster CKI’s interests in Australia, where it already owns stakes in energy assets and last year bought power provider Duet Group for more than A$7 billion.

APA’s board has granted the consortium led by CKI due diligence, though has made no recommendation in response to the unsolicited proposal, it said.

The offer comes just a month after billionaire Li Ka-shing formally stepped down as head of the business empire, handing the reins to his eldest son Victor.

APA’s gas transmission pipelines span every state and territory on mainland Australia, delivering approximately half of the nation’s gas usage, according to its website. The company’s 15,000 kilometers of gas pipelines connect 1.3 million homes and businesses.

The CKI-led consortium, which includes CK Asset Holdings Ltd. and Power Assets Holdings Ltd., has informed APA that it has had discussions with, and provided information to, both Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board and the country’s competition watchdog. It has offered to sell APA’s interests in the Goldfields Gas Pipeline, Parmelia Gas Pipeline, Mondarra Gas Storage Facility.