MACQUARIE Bank is planning to take a lead role in a bid for Alinta after agreeing on a series of protocols with the energy and infrastructure company. This marks a quick shift for Macquarie, which for several years had been Alinta’s principal corporate adviser. That changed early this year when Alinta’s then chairman John Poynton asked Macquarie to advise the management buy-out group he had formed with chief executive Bob Browning and three other executives. It now appears that Macquarie will work with the MBO group but intends to be in the driving seat. Alinta’s new chairman John Akehurst has effectively set up an auction for the company, which is valued at about $7 billion. The protocols negotiated by the two companies are designed to ensure Macquarie cannot use any information it obtained in its capacity as Alinta’s corporate adviser. The protocols are also designed to achieve a fair and transparent process for all parties interested in bidding. The Alinta board was keen for Macquarie to be involved in the bidding, to maximise the number of potential purchasers. Any bids would be assessed against an internal restructuring of Alinta, following the buy-back of its infrastructure spin-off Alinta Infrastructure Holdings.
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