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Atlassian’s Mike Cannon-Brookes makes $650 million play for substantial stake in AGL

- May 2, 2022 2 MIN READ
Mike Cannon-Brookes
Mike Cannon-Brookes
Billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes has picked up his pen once again, looking to take a minority stake in ASX-listed AGL Energy through his family investment firm Grok Ventures.

In an announcement via JP Morgan’s equities desk after the market closed on Monday, the broker said Grok Ventures and its affiliates are looking to acquire a combined physical and economic interest in up to 11.5% of AGL Energy Ltd (ASX: AGL) shares as part of a strategic derivative transaction.

The move comes seven weeks after Australia’s largest energy supplier rejected a second $5.5 billion takeover bid from Cannon-Brookes and his Canadian takeover partner, Brookfield Asset Management. The Atlassian co-founder declared it was “pens down” on the takeover bid back in early March.

Brookfield is not believed to be part of this buy, which could cost up to $650 million.

AGL shares closed down slightly on Monday at $8.62 – well above the $8.25 a share offer made by Cannon-Brookes in the rejected takeover bid.

Today AGL also revised down its underlying EBITDA for FY22 to between $1,230 and $1,300 million, down from the previous guidance range of $1,275-1,400 million.

Underlying Profit after tax for FY22 was also revised down to between $220 and $270 million, from $260-340 million.

The downgrade related to the anticipated financial impact of the generator fault at Unit 2 of the Loy Yang A Power Station in Victoria, revealed on April 20. It’s not expected to return to service until August 1 and the estimated total financial impact of this outage is approximately $73 million pre-tax ($50 million after tax) based on that time lag.

“If we elect to proceed with the transaction, we will announce our interest in AGL before opening of trade tomorrow morning,” JP Morgan’s statement said.

Today AGL issued its letter to shareholders ahead of a June 15 meeting to vote on the demerger of the company into two ASX-listed entities.

AGL CEO Graeme Hunt, and chair Peter Botten and the board want to split the business into AGL Australia as an energy retailer, and Accel Energy, an electricity generator.

When the board rejected the takeover in March, Botten said the bid ignored “potential future value” for shareholders from a proposed demerger.

Cannon-Brookes opposes the demerger, saying previously that it is “a terrible outcome for shareholders, taxpayers, customers, Australia and the planet we all share”.



A 10% stake in the business could give the Atlassian boss a stronger say in the proposed demerger, which requires at least 75% support from shareholders.

The billionaire, who last year committed to investing $1 billion through Grok on climate change startups over the next decade, has argued that a faster shutdown of coal-fired power stations would reduce electricity prices.