AustralianSuper Offers to Buy Infratil in $3.8 Billion Deal

AustralianSuper, the nation’s largest pension fund, has offered to buy New Zealand’s Infratil Ltd. for $3.8 billion, in its biggest takeover approach for a listed company as it seeks to bolster returns.

The cash and stock offer values Infratil shares at NZ$7.43 each, a 22% premium to Tuesday’s closing price in Wellington.

AustralianSuper said it was attracted by Infratil’s assets in New Zealand and Australia, including stakes in renewable energy companies, Wellington Airport and data centers. An acquisition would expand its own global infrastructure portfolio valued at A$20 billion ($14.8 billion), the Melbourne-based pension fund said in a statement.

The deal comes as Australia’s A$2.9 trillion pension industry, where 9.5% of a worker’s gross salary is paid into a retirement fund each month, looks to deploy its growing pile of cash. Funds that typically favored stocks and government bonds are making bigger bets, buying assets such as airports and toll-roads, and taking companies private to reap stable, long-term returns.

“As a well-capitalized and long-term investor, we see significant potential to invest in the growth of Infratil’s assets on behalf of AustralianSuper’s members,” said Nik Kemp, the fund’s head of infrastructure.

Infratil didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment outside regular business hours in New Zealand. The firm’s shares rose 2.4% to NZ$6.08 in Wellington trading, and are up 21% this year. Infratil investors will receive NZ$5.79 cash and 0.221 of a Trustpower Ltd. share for each share they own.

The takeover approach is the third by AustralianSuper for a publicly-listed company, after it bought Navitas Ltd. in a consortium with private equity firm BGH Capital last year, after losing a bidding war for Healthscope Ltd.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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