Australian power firm rejects green billionaire’s takeover bid

AGL, Australia’s largest carbon emitter, said Monday that it had turned down a revised buyout offer from billionaire green activist Mike Cannon-Brookes, who wanted to close the company’s coal-fired power stations.

The board of AGL, Australia’s largest energy business, said it had rejected a joint bid of $8.25 (US$6) per share from Cannon-Brookes, the founder of the internet firm Atlassian, and Brookfield Asset Management, a Canadian investment firm.

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The buyout proposal was still “far below the true value of the company,” the company claimed in a statement to the Australian stock exchange.

The unsuccessful deal was Cannon-Brookes and Brookfield’s second offer to AGL, with a plan to close the company’s largest coal-fired power units 15 years early (up from $7.50 per share earlier).

On Sunday, Cannon-Brookes announced the AGL rejection, saying that the deal, worth around $8.5 billion with AGL’s debt, would be the pair’s final effort to take the energy company private.

On Twitter, Cannon-Brookes stated, “Our journey was the world’s largest decarbonisation initiative.”

Cannon-Brookes, who is worth an estimated US$16 billion and is one of Australia’s wealthiest individuals, has been vocal about the need to do more to decarbonize the country’s economy and set ambitious climate objectives since becoming one of the country’s wealthiest people.

Australia’s AGL Rejects $3.6 Billion Takeover Bid From Brookfield, Billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes

Cannon-Brookes and Brookfield had planned to swiftly decarbonize AGL if they were successful, including closing down its coal power units by 2030 rather than 2045 as originally planned.

AGL announced in a statement to the stock exchange that it will instead pursue a demerger of its gas and energy businesses, a strategy that has been received with skepticism by some of the company’s most important shareholders.

Droughts, deadly bushfires, and bleaching events on the Great Barrier Reef have become more common and intense as global climate patterns change. Australia is one of the world’s largest exporters of both gas and coal, but it has also been on the front lines of climate change, with droughts, deadly bushfires, and bleaching events on the Great Barrier Reef becoming more common and intense as global climate patterns change.

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