APA Group (ASX: APA) has received a large takeover offer of around $13 billion from a consortium led by CK Infrastructure Holdings Limited.

APA Group is Australia’s largest natural gas infrastructure business and it also owns electricity assets.

The offer from CK Infrastructure is for $11 per share, which comes to $12.979 billion for all of the shares on issue. Yesterday’s closing price was $8.27, so the offer represents a premium of 33%.

CK Infrastructure is leading a consortium which also includes CK Asset Holdings Limited and Power Assets Holdings Limited.

The offer is indicative and non-binding and it comes with a few conditions, one of those being granted due diligence, which the APA Board has allowed on a non-exclusive basis.

The CK Consortium said that it has had discussions with and provided information to the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) and Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The CK Consortium has suggested a divestment package which includes APA’s stakes in the Goldfield Gas Pipeline, Parmelia Gas Pipeline, Mondarra Gas Storage Facility and a standalone management team. However, the proposal is not conditional on these proposed divestments occurring before completion of the transaction.

APA’s Chairman, Mr Michael Fraser, noted: “The APA Board will continue to evaluate the proposal and update APA’s securityholders and the market as appropriate. The Board believes APA has a very attractive business and is well positioned to continue delivering strong results and ongoing growth irrespective of whether the proposal proceeds to an offer.”

This deal is likely to receive additional FIRB and political scrutiny due to the size and importance of APA to Australia’s energy market and the overall economy.

The general population’s concern about the amount of residential property Chinese citizens have been buying is warranted, but the media and government are also concentrating on whether it’s a good idea for Chinese businesses to own important Australian infrastructure.

There is concern over telecommunications business Huawei being awarded any 5G work or the new Perth rail communications system. There was also a lot of discussion about a Chinese business buying Darwin Port.

The APA Board is currently making no recommendation at this stage and said that securityholders should take no action.

Expect to see plenty of politicians and other stakeholders voice their opinion in the coming weeks.

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