Li Ka-shing in US$4.5 billion bid for Australia’s Duet
Hong Kong billionaire chases another energy company after AusGrid takeover was rejected on national security grounds in August
Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing’s Cheung Kong Infrastructure on Monday offered Aus$7.3 billion (US$5.4 billion) in a takeover tilt at Australia’s Duet Group, which said it was considering the bid.
The unsolicited and conditional Aus$3 per share offer for the energy utility asset owner represented a near 28% premium to Duet’s closing share price on Friday.
The move sent the stock almost 15% higher to Aus$2.69 in afternoon trade Monday.
“The boards of the Duet Group are currently evaluating the proposal and at this time security holders are advised to take no action as there is currently no certainty the proposal will proceed further,” the target company said in a statement.
Duet owns electricity and gas networks in Victoria state as well as Western Australia’s main gas transmission line.
The bid is Li’s latest attempt to bolster his Australian business this year after suffering a blow when a proposal to buy the country’s largest electricity network, AusGrid, was rejected on national security grounds in August.
Cheung Kong Infrastructure already has significant investments in Australia’s energy sector, including in electricity networks in Victoria and South Australia.