© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of Australian energy company Origin is pictured in Melbourne, Australia, July 3, 2016. Picture taken July 3, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Reed/File Photo
By Scott Murdoch and Lewis Jackson
SYDNEY (Reuters) -Origin Energy’s shareholders have rejected a $10.6 billion bid by a Brookfield-led consortium for Australia’s largest power retailer at a shareholder meeting on Monday.
The proxy votes were 31.07% against the bid with 66.97% in favour, according to presentation materials shown to investors, lower than the 75% threshold required for a takeover to proceed.
Chairman Scott Perkins said after the vote that Origin will continue as an independent, listed company.
The deal was expected to fail after Origin’s largest shareholder A$300 billion ($198 billion) pension fund AustralianSuper said it would reject the A$9.39 per share offer.
AustralianSuper owns about 17% of Origin, which was enough to block the bid. The fund welcomed the shareholders’ decision.
“We have never wavered in our belief that the value and future value of Origin is better in the hands of members and other shareholders rather than a private equity consortium seeking to make a quick return based on the proposed scheme terms,” an AustralianSuper spokesperson said in a statement.
Origin’s board on Thursday rejected an alternative proposal lodged last week from the consortium to be considered if the current offer failed.
Brookfield flagged on Friday if the deal was voted down the consortium would need to consider whether a new government plan to reshape energy markets negatively impacted its view of Origin’s value.
Origin shares were down 3.9% ahead the investor vote. The shares are on a trading halt.