DUESSELDORF, Germany (Reuters) - Germany’s cartel office has approved the 3.2 billion ($4.1 billion) euro sale of E.ON’s (EONGn.DE) gas distribution network unit Open Grid Europe to a consortium led by Australian investment bank Macquarie (MQG.AX).
The deal, which was announced in May, brings E.ON’s tally of divestments to more than 12 billion euros, well on its way toward its goal of selling assets worth 15 billion by the end of 2013 to help offset the impact of Germany’s nuclear exit, pay down debt and fund its expansion.
The winning consortium consists of Macquarie’s European Infrastructure Fund 4, Infinity Investments, British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (bcIMC) and Munich Re’s (MUVGn.DE) asset management unit MEAG.
It beat out three other groups led by France’s GDF Suez GSZ.PA, Germany’s Allianz (ALVG.DE) and Belgium’s Fluxys.
Macquarie, a major force in European infrastructure M&A, has already bought RWE’s 4,100 kilometre gas network Thyssengas GmbH for an estimated 500 million euros in a deal announced in late 2010.
OGE, which operates a 12,000 kilometre gas distribution network in Germany and employs about 1,600 staff, was unbundled from its parent company in 2010 to comply with EU requirements.
($1 = 0.7880 euros)
Reporting by Matthias Inverardi; Writing by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter