* APA hikes offer after earlier rebuff from Envestra
* Deal follows A$1.4 billion acquisition of Hastings
* Envestra shares surge 5.6 pct, APA shares lose 3.9 pct
(Adds details of deal, share reaction)
By Maggie Lu Yueyang
SYDNEY, Dec 17 APA Group, Australia's
largest transporter of natural gas, has agreed to take over gas
distributor Envestra Ltd after hiking its offer to
A$1.4 billion ($1.3 billion) - its second big acquisition in two
APA, which delivers about half of the country's annual gas
use, has been keen to broaden its reach and the deal follows its
A$1.4 billion acquisition of Hastings Diversified Utilities Fund
Envestra shares surged 5.6 percent to A$1.13 in morning
trade after APA, which owns one third of Envestra, said it had
agreed to buy the shares it did not own, with its revised offer
implying a value of A$1.17 per Envestra share. The deal values
Envestra at A$2.1 billion.
APA shares lost 3.9 percent to A$6.12.
Envestra shareholders can either accept 0.1919 APA shares
for each Envestra share, or a combination of APA shares and cash
with the cash component subject to an overall cap of A$241
million, APA said.
Envestra's independent board committee has agreed by
majority to proceed with the deal, the companies said.
Envestra, which owns gas distribution networks on the
Australian mainland with about 1.2 million customers, had
rejected a previous proposal of a notional A$1.10 per share from
APA in August.
Envestra is 17.5 percent owned by Cheung Kong Infrastructure
Holding Ltd, a company controlled by Hong Kong tycoon
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said in
August it would not oppose APA's proposed acquisition. APA said
it expected the deal to close by June 2014.
($1 = 1.1160 Australian dollars)
(Editing by Edwina Gibbs)