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Australia's Macquarie Makes New Offer for Alinta

Australian investment firm Macquarie Bank has raised its offer for energy infrastructure firm Alinta to at least A$7.9 billion (US$6.5 billion), a source familiar with the situation said on Monday.

The source said Macquarie had submitted the new offer late on Friday. The revised bid -- which includes all-cash or cash and scrip alternatives -- had options which amounted to more than A$16 a share, beating a rival board-endorsed bid led by Babcock & Brown.

"The new offer includes various options, including all cash or cash and scrip ... and some of the options come up to more than A$16 a share," the source said. Alinta confirmed it had received a revised bid from Macquarie, but gave no details of the offer.

Babcock & Brown's initial A$7.4 billion offer valued Alinta at around A$15 a share.

The Babcock offer included A$8.50 in cash, and shares in Babcock's infrastructure, power and wind funds, A$0.40 franking credits, as well as 1.51 Australia Pipeline Trust units for every five Alinta shares.

According to Reuters calculation, the value of the offer has since increased to A$15.98 based on Friday's closing prices, largely because of a rise in the value of the Babcock funds.

Babcock, which has teamed up with state-owned utility Singapore Power, said in a statement that Alinta's board has advised the consortium of an alternative proposal that the board had a "fiduciary duty" to consider.

"We believe the options introduced under our recommended proposal give Alinta shareholders maximum flexibility," Babcock & Brown Chief Executive Phil Green said in a statement.

In a effort to sweeten the deal, Babcock said on April 16 it would offer shareholders with 1,000 Alinta shares or less the opportunity to receive all cash. Singapore Power owns 51% of Australia's SP Ausnet, an energy network operator.

The tussle for Alinta, Australia's largest energy infrastructure firm, has come on the heels of a flurry of takeovers in the sector and has sent Alinta's shares surging 36.7% since the start of the year.

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