$20 billion Origin bid faces pressure

Company News

by Glenn Dyer

The $20 billion bid for Origin Energy (ASX:ORG) appears to be under increasing pressure, potentially leading to its failure in a crucial shareholder vote scheduled for Thursday.

AustralianSuper has been steadily acquiring shares in Origin Energy in anticipation of Thursday's shareholder meeting, which will decide on the offer presented by Canada's Brookfield and EIG from the US.

According to media reports on Monday, the industry fund has raised its stake to over 17%, up from 16.5% on November 13. This increase occurred late Friday when 40 million shares were traded.

On Friday, Origin's share price closed at $8.60, notably lower than the $9.53-a-share offer from Brookfield and EIG. While Origin's board supports the bid, market sentiment suggests it may likely fail due to the substantial difference in value.

Last week, AustralianSuper rejected a last-minute offer from Brookfield and EIG to join their proposed bid, asserting that they still believed the bid undervalued Origin significantly.

The deadline for proxies for the meeting is 2 PM on Tuesday, with eligibility cutoff at 7 PM tomorrow.

Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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