Notable billion dollar announced ASX takeover deals which failed

January 25, 2024

This list tracks notable announced agreed ASX takeover deals, mergers or transactions which exceeded $1 billion in value and subsequently failed.

APN News & Media, 2007: Perpetual foolishly voted down a scheme of arrangement privatisation involving the O'Reilly family, PEP and Carlyle shortly before the GFC struck in 2007. After lifting its bid 4 times to $3 billion or $6.20 a share, Perpetual voted its 14.8% stake against and the deal failed with only 51% of voted stock in favour, when it required 75% approval.

Aristocrat Leisure, 2022: announced an agreed $5 billion bid for UK-based Playtech in October 2021 which was pitched at 680p per share. However, it was comfortably voted down in February 2022 with only 56.13% support when UK takeovers require the support of 75% of voted stock. The company raised $1.3 billion in fresh equity after launching the deal and later bought back much of this stock when the deal lapsed. Playtech shares had retreated to 445p by the end of 2023 so it was bad call by shareholders.

ASX, 2010: the David Gonski-led ASX wanted a merger with its Singapore counterpart but it was sensibly rejected by Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan. The merger talks broke in October 2010 and the deal was killed in April 2011, as this Fairfax feature explains. The Graeme Samuel led ACCC waved the deal through in December 2010. See 92 page merger implementation agreement.

CSL, 2009: announced ambitious plans to pay $US3.1 billion for US plasma group Talecris in August 2008 but it was blocked by US regulators in May 2009. The $1.75 billion placement was superfluous to requirements.

Liontown Resources (LTR), 2023: whilst no formal deal had been signed, it was looking good for Liontown to sell itself to US lithium giant Albemarle at $3 a share after it lobbed an indicative bid and then was granted exclusive due diligence. However, Gina Rinehart then swooped in and paid around $1.2 billion for a 20% stake and the predator walked away, knowing that Gina would almost certainly have the numbers to vote it down.

Origin Energy, 2023: led by Australian Super, shareholders voted down an agreed $20 billion takeover by Brookfield and EIG. The final results showed only 68.92% of voted stock and 77.83% of voting shareholders in favour.

Qantas, 2007: a $10 billion privatisation of Qantas priced at $5.60 a share and led by Macquarie and private equity firm TPG failed in 2007 after it failed to satisfy a 50% acceptances condition. The withdrawal by Airline Partners Australia was announced on May 17, 2007. Chair Margaret Jackson and James Packer quit the board the day after the deal failed.

Rio Tinto and BHP, 2009: announced a binding joint venture in December 2009 to pool their WA iron ore operations after first revealing the idea in June 2009 but then walked away in October 2010 after failing to reach agreement with various regulators.

Shell move on Woodside, 2001: Shell proposed a $10 billion move on Woodside to deliver it a controlling 56% stake but this was blocked by Treasurer Peter Costello in early 2001.

Woodside-Shell sell-down deal, 2014: Woodside came up with a special franking credits buyback deal to help Shell sell down but it was rejected by shareholders. Revealed the proxies a day before the meeting saying it only had 71.3% voting support and the final votes was opposed by 28% of voted stock. See chair address as Michael Chaney attempted to justify agreeing to pay $US2.68 billion for a 9.5% stake held by Shell, in a deal which failed to adequately value the franking credits.