Origin Energy shareholders have rejected the acquisition of the company by a group of investors led by Brookfield and EIG.
Origin reported that 68.92% of votes had backed the scheme. The proposal required 75% to be carried.
Origin said that, as a result, it would remain publicly listed and that shareholders supported its strategy.
“Our focus now is on continuing to execute our priorities and pursuing our ambition to lead the energy transition,” the company said.
The company announced it had received an indicative proposal on November 23, announcing plans to hold a vote on November 30. The offer priced Origin’s shares at A$9.39 per share, giving a total value of around A$20 billion.
Origin chair Scott Perkins noted, in his address, that the offer was higher than the company’s share price and “at the top end of the independent expert’s valuation range”. The board backed the offer.
Takeover talks have been under way for some time. In November 2022, the Brookfield group offered A$9 per share, valuing Origin at A$18.4bn.
Breaking up and investing
Brookfield’s plan was to break up Origin, it would have held on to the power generation and energy retail side. Another member of the group, MidOcean Energy would have acquired Origin’s integrated gas unit. It would also have taken over a 27.5% stake in Australia Pacific LNG (APLNG).
Crucially, Brookfield planned to build renewable energy capacity and retire the Eraring coal-fired power plant.
AustralianSuper, the pension fund, opposed Brookfield’s plan. It holds a 17% stake in Origin, increasing its stake in order to fend off the proposal. “AustralianSuper believes the ongoing energy transition has further enhanced the value of strategic energy transition platforms, such as Origin,” it said.
A representative for the fund told local media that Origin’s value was “better in the hands of members and other shareholders rather than a private equity consortium seeking to make a quick return based on the proposed scheme terms and we are pleased that this is the outcome”.
Origin’s Perkins, commenting on the shareholder vote, said the company would accelerate “investment in cleaner energy and storage and pursuing our ambition to lead the energy transition”.
The Brookfield group is unlikely to make another offer, according to reports.