Canadian pension fund to buy Arqiva owner

By Julian Clover | May 25, 2009

UK transmission provider Arqiva is to pass from Australian to Canadian ownership after the Macquarie Group said it proposed to sell its communications fund to the Canadian Pensions Plan.

Regulatory approval for the A$1.37 billion (766.5 million) bid was required from both the UK Office of Fair Trading and the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board.

It means that the UK transmission network will over the past 10 years have been variously owned by UK, US, Australian and now Canadian interests.
The potential sale, which still needs shareholder approval, has been called into question over the value of the UK transmission firm. Singapore-listed Macquarie International Infrastructure Fund valued Arqiva at 1.49 billion (1.70 billion), some 45% higher than an independent valuation by Deloitte, which estimated the value at between 823 million and 1.17 billion.

Macquarie also owns Broadcast Australia. The company has begun to reappraise its investment in infrastructure companies in favour of a return to the banking business.