Australia’s major energy generators and retailers have seen huge leadership changes in the last year, with AGL and Origin both in a state of upheaval.
Now it seems Australia’s third largest ‘gentailer’ could join the ranks, with finance group Macquarie reportedly in talks to acquire as much as a 50% stake in EnergyAustralia.
Macquarie has often boasted about its clean energy credentials, though this was undermined by a recent report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), which found Macquarie Group had continued to invest heavily in fossil fuel projects after signing up to the international Net Zero Banking Alliance in 2021.
Nonetheless, the company appears eager to beef up its energy assets as the industry transitions, and is reportedly looking to EnergyAustralia as the vehicle for that. Still in the very early stages, few details of any potential deal have made their way into the public sphere yet.
Meanwhile, Australian technology billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes has sold part of his stake in AGL Energy. The sale is fairly modest, taking the billionaire’s private Grok Ventures stake from 11.3% to 10.41%. AGL remains Grok’s largest investment.
After failing to takeover AGL with then-partner Brookfield, Cannon-Brookes took a new route by buying a controlling stake in the publicly listed company in May 2022. Using his position as a significant shareholder, he was able to derail the company’s demerger plans and subsequently transform AGL’s top management and board.
In a statement, Grok Ventures’ CEO Jeremy Kwong-Law said the sale “should not be seen as a broader divestment plan or change in our focus.”
“Grok remains AGL’s largest shareholder, and we continue to view AGL as a high conviction investment in our portfolio,” he added.
Origin’s takeover by Canadian-fund Brookfield is currently being reviewed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Independent news organisation Michael West Media has recently ramped up its investigations into Brookfield’s successful tax evasion, including in Australia.
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