Acquisitions August? Controversial Green Investment Bank sale done, Heineken punches the air and Reckitt Benckiser sells sauce

William Turvill
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The government kicked off the Green Investment Bank privatisation in March 2016 (Source: Getty)

The controversial Green Investment Bank privatisation has this morning completed, the third big deal to get the go-ahead in a matter of hours.

Australian investment bank Macquarie said in a statement that its consortium has now tied up the £2.3bn deal.

Completion of the takeover comes nearly a year and a half after ministers kicked off the GIB sell-off in March 2016. The government announced that it had agreed a £2.3bn sale to the Macquarie-led consortium, made up of Macquarie Group, Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund 5 and Universities Superannuation Scheme, in April.

It has been a manic 12 hours for mergers. Reckitt Benckiser completed the sale of its food business, including French’s mustard, to McCormick for $4.2bn (£3.3bn) last night. And, as the GIB deal was announced this morning, the UK competition watchdog said it had accepted proposals by Heineken to resolve concerns over its £403m takeover of Punch Taverns. This deal now looks set to complete without trouble by the end of this month.

The GIB sale became a hot political issue in early 2017 after it emerged that Macquarie was the government’s preferred bidder, ahead Sustainable Development Capital.

Political opposition to the sale started after a report suggested Macquarie, advised by RBC, was planning to asset-strip GIB, which was founded by the government in 2012.There were also questions raised about the Australian firm’s commitment to green energy.

Announcing completion of the deal today, Macquarie confirmed it is committed to the GIB’s target of leading £3bn of investment in green energy projects over the next three years.

Under new ownership, Edward Northam will lead GIB. He joined GIB in 2012 and was most recently its head of investment banking. Chief executive Shaun Kingsbury is to step down.

Lord Smith of Kelvin, chair of the GIB up to the completion of the transaction, said: “Today marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the Green Investment Bank. Under Macquarie ownership, the business will have the support it needs to deliver a growing green impact, at home in the UK and now abroad.

“I’m confident that with this support the Green Investment Bank, nurtured so well through its early years by the UK government, will go on to bigger and better things.”

Northam said: “This new chapter provides the best of both worlds: a deep sector specialism coupled with access to a global platform and deep pools of capital.

“We have ambitious plans for the growth of the Green Investment Group, starting with a continuation of our role as a leading investor in the UK and building on that through an additional international focus.”

Read more: It's on: Macquarie agrees to buy Green Investment Bank for £2.3bn

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