Asciano shares surge after Brookfield's counterstrike against Qube

Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

Shares in Asciano soared today after Canada’s Brookfield Infrastructure, which has a $8.9 billion takeover bid on the table for the logistics company, made an on market counterstrike against Qube overnight.

Asciano shares hit $8.80, up 6%, the level at which both Brookfield and Qube have been scooping up strategic holdings.

In a statement to the market, Asciano noted that the Brookfield Infrastructure Partners had acquired 14.9% of its company overnight, picking up 146 million shares at $8.80 each.

A meeting of Asciano shareholders due to be held on Tuesday to vote on the Brookfield takeover has now be rescheduled to a date to be fixed.

Brookfield has an offer on the table valued at $9.221 in cash and shares. The latest on market buying is below the takeover offer price, but well above the $6.65 Asciano was trading at before the bidding started.

Qube last week grabbed a 19.9% blocking stake in Asciano at a cost of about $1.7 billion to stop Brookfield getting 100% of the company.

Chris Corrigan’s Qube is after what it calls Asciano’s first class Australian assets, Patrick Containers Terminals, and some other aspects of the logistics company.

Corrigan, chair of Qube and the former managing director of the Patrick Corporation until Toll Holdings launched a hostile takeover in 2006, enlisted Global Infrastructure Partners and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board to build the blocking stake.

In 1998, Corrigan controversially transformed Australia’s waterfront by sacking his entire workforce and using lockouts and strike breakers to smash the Maritime Union of Australia’s stranglehold on labour supply. He was backed by John Howard’s federal government, and the dispute went all the way to the High Court.

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