Australia’s Spark Infra rejects $3.7b takeover bid by KKR, others

Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia. Photo by Frans on Unsplash

Australia’s Spark Infrastructure on Thursday rejected a A$4.91 billion ($3.67 billion) takeover bid by a consortium that included private equity giant KKR & Co but left open the door to some engagement, sending shares soaring more than 7%.

Spark said the A$2.80 per-share offer was the second made by KKR and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, topping up their initial one by 10 cents, both of which had not been made public before and were seen as too low.

Shares of the Australian infrastructure firm jumped as much as 7.5% to A$2.665, their highest in more than three years but still shy of the second offer, which was at a near 13% premium to Spark‘s last traded price on Wednesday.

Spark agreed to provide “limited” information on its business and prospects, but not due diligence, to the consortium once a confidentiality agreement is reached.

KKR and the Canadian pension fund did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

The bid is the latest in a flurry of deal activity in Australia as record-low interest rates prompt companies with ample capital to chase higher yields just as the economy enjoys a sharp rebound from a pandemic-driven recession.

Spark, which operates an electricity distribution network in Southern Australia, has seen its shares rise more than 17% so far in 2021, as infrastructure spending and industrial activity rebound.

In a separate statement, Spark said it plans to develop a renewable energy generation and storage hub of up to 2.5 gigawatt capacity in New South Wales to offset supply shortage from the closure of coal-fired power stations.

Spark is being advised by Goldman Sachs on the buyout offer.

Reuters

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.