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Leighton Pulls Out of Alinta Bid Group

Engineering contractor Leighton Holdings has pulled out of a Macquarie Bank-led consortium preparing a bid for Australian energy infrastructure group Alinta, a source familiar with the situation said on Wednesday.

The Macquarie Group, one of three taking a look at Alinta, was restructuring its proposal ahead of a deadline for final bids later this week, the source told Reuters, confirming a report in the Australian Financial Review newspaper.

The Macquarie consortium also included Dutch bank ABN AMRO and infrastructure maintenance firm Transfield Services, sources have said. "Leighton determined that Macquarie's approach was too rich for them," the source said.

Perth-based Alinta put itself up for sale in January after receiving a controversial management buy-out proposal.

Australian investment bank Babcock & Brown in partnership with Singapore Power, and U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs with Hong Kong's Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings were also conducting due diligence, sources have told Reuters.

CKI has agreed to sell half its stake in a Sydney road tunnel to Macquarie Bank, sources told Reuters on Tuesday, freeing up cash for an Alinta deal.

Perth-based conglomerate Wesfarmers was also expected to take a look at Alinta although it was not clear whether it would bid, local media reports and sources have said.