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Brookfield, Morrison & Co seek to rival Macquarie for Australia’s Uniti

A unit of Canada’s Brookfield and fund manager Morrison & Co entered an exclusivity deed with Uniti Group on Thursday, after a Macquarie-led consortium offered A$5 per share ($3.73) for the Australian telecom firm.

The new deed replaces the one the Australian telecom firm had with just Morrison & Co, but is on “substantially the same terms” as that arrangement, which valued Uniti at A$4.50 per share, Uniti said in a statement after market close.

The announcement came after Uniti earlier on Thursday said it got a buyout proposal from Macquarie Asset Management and Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board that valued it at about A$3.44 billion.

Uniti said both proposals are still non-binding and preliminary.

Morrison & Co and Brookefield did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for more details on the consortium.

The proposal for Uniti is Morrison & Co’s latest venture into the telecom space after funds managed by it acquired a 49% stake in Telstra’s mobile tower business last year.

Brookfield has also been involved in a number of deals in Australia. In recent weeks, its investment vehicle bought asset manager La Trobe Financial in a $1.1 billion deal, and it has also tried to buy power producer AGL Energy.

Trading of Uniti shares was halted on Wednesday after media reports about the Macquarie bid. The stock has risen almost 50% since March 14, when it entered exclusive talks with Morrison. Reuters

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