The $9 billion asset carve up of Asciano is about to start

Photo: Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

Qube is about to announce the final structure of a $9.05 billion takeover of ports and rail group Asciano.

Chris Corrigan’s Qube, which wants to take the Patrick container terminals from Asciano, today went into a trading halt pending a “significant announcement to make in relation to an acquisition and capital raising”.

Asciano also went into a trading halt. “Asciano expects to make an announcement to the ASX shortly in relation to recent media speculation,” the company said.

The takeover is expected to see assets divided up among the many parties involved in two separate takeover bids.

Part of the deal would see Qube end up with Asciano’s Patrick for $2.9 billion.

Last month two warring sides, a consortium led by Qube and one by Canada’s Brookfield Infrastructure, decided to see if they could launch a joint takeover pitched at $9.05 billion in cash.

The details of the all cash proposal at $9.28 a share is expected to be revealed later today. The shares last traded at $8.87.

Asciano has been under takeover offer since July last year, with the action switching between Brookfield, which first made an offer, and Qube.

Both groups went on market to grab blocking stakes to ensure the other couldn’t get 100% of Asciano.

Until now, the bids have been a mixture of shares and cash, valuing the company at around $9 billion, depending on shares prices. The latest proposal is superior in that it is all cash.

Corrigan, chairman of Qube, was the managing director of the Patrick Corporation, which essentially owned Qube’s containers terminals, until it was taken over in 2006.

With the backing of the John Howard federal government, Corrigan transformed Australia’s waterfront in the late 1990s using lockouts and strike breakers to smash a union hold on the supply of labour.

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