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Canadian fund managers combine forces in joint bid for Aussie rail, port group

Three of Canada’s largest fund managers are part of a joint proposal by two bidders to buy and break up Asciano Ltd., an Australian rail, port and terminal group.

The initiative involves the Brookfield Asset Management group, the British Columbia Investment Management Corp. and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

The Brookfield-led consortium includes the B.C. pension and investment fund manager, while the CPPIB was part of a rival bid group headed by Qube Holdings.

Together with their various allies, the Canadian fund managers are proposing to jointly buy Asciano and then split up its component businesses, which include the Pacific National railway system, the Patrick container terminals and the BAPS bulk and automotive services business.

Pacific National would be retained as one entity and the ports businesses would be sold as separate entities to members of the joint bidding group

Asciano’s board is supporting the joint bid, which also includes the Qatar Investment Authority, GIC Private Ltd., Global Infrastructure Management and CIC Capital.

The buying group would pay A$9.15 per share cash. Asciano would also pay its shareholders a regular dividend of 13 Australian cents per share on March 24 and a special dividend of up to 90 cents per share before the takeover deal closes.

Note to readers: Corrects spelling of Asciano in last para