Publication Date: November 7, 2018
The Australian Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, announced after the market close in Australia that he intends to block CKI’s acquisition of APA Group on national interest concerns, “on the grounds that it would result in an undue concentration of foreign ownership by a single company group in our most significant gas transmission business”. This was a surprise announcement for many given the FIRB’s position on the vast majority of previous transactions, and highlights the discretion that the Treasurer holds in relation to making such decisions. We spoke to our Canberra-based legal and political advisers, who have extensive experience in foreign investment clearance and M&A in Australia, to get their take on the Treasurer’s preliminary announcement.
1. What is your initial reaction to the result and timing of Treasurer Frydenberg’s decision? 2. What is the significance of a Preliminary versus Final decision? 3. What are CKI’s next moves? Is the decision final and will CKI just withdraw from the deal? 4. Are other buyers or Australian investors waiting in the wings? 5. Does politics explain the decision? 6. What are the lessons to be learned?
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