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Steam rises from the cooling towers of the Loy Yang coal-fired power plant operated by AGL © Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg

Australian utility AGL has rejected an unsolicited bid from a consortium led by Brookfield Asset Management to buy the business, saying the offer “significantly undervalues ​​the business”.

The Brookfield Consortium, which includes tech billionaire and climate activist Mike Cannon-Brookes, has offered to buy 100% of the company for A$7.50 (US$5.40) per share, valuing the entire the company to approximately A$4.9 billion.

This represented a 4.7% premium to Friday’s closing price of A$7.16 and a market capitalization of A$4.7 billion.

The acquisition would likely speed the closure of two of the country’s largest coal-fired power stations, accelerating Australia’s already rapid transition to a grid dominated by renewables.

Just last week, AGL’s main competitor, Origin, announced that it would close its last coal-fired plant in 2025, seven years ahead of schedule.

AGL plans to split the company in two, selling its coal production assets to a new company to be called Accel Energy. The remaining company would focus on energy retailing and renewable energy generation. Brookfield’s offer would cancel this plan.

In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange on Monday morning, AGL Chairman Peter Botten said: “The proposal does not offer an adequate premium for a change in control and is not in the best interest of shareholders. of AGL Energy.”

He added that under the proposal, “the board believes that AGL Energy shareholders would forfeit the opportunity to realize potential future value through the proposed spin-off of AGL Energy while the two proposed organizations pursue decisive action on decarbonisation”.

AGL said the primary offer was all in cash, but provided a secondary option for AGL shareholders to accept payment in shares for up to 20% of the company.

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