BRITISH COLUMBIA

Brookfield raises all-cash offer for Western Wind, sets Feb. 11 deadline

01/28/2013 08:42 EST | Updated 03/30/2013 05:12 EDT
VANCOUVER - Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners LP (TSX:BEP.UN) increased its all-cash offer Monday for Western Wind Energy Corp. by 10 cents per share to $2.60, but says the deal will only be on the table until Feb. 11.

Brookfield Renewable, a minority shareholder of the alternative energy company, says it already has the support of shareholders with 22 per cent of Western Wind (TSX.V:WND) common stock. But the offer is conditional on it receiving at least 50 per cent of the outstanding stock it doesn't already own.

In July, the company offered $2.50 per share for Western Wind, which was rejected by management.

Last week, Brookfield said it had ended negotiations with the Vancouver-based company.

A day later, Western Wind announced it had formally asked the Ontario Securities Commission to put in place an independent valuator to assess the value of its shares.

"Either Brookfield plays by the rules and obtains a shareholder-supported transaction based on publicly disclosed valuation or our assets will be sold to selected purchasers, who obtain shareholder approval," said Western Wind CEO Jeff Ciachurski.

The company argues that it requires this process because Brookfield's offer constitutes an "insider" bid, because it currently owns more than 10 per cent of Western Wind's shares. But Brookfield argues that although it holds common shares, it is an "outsider in all material respects."

"If there is an OSC hearing, Brookfield Renewable will vigorously defend its position," it said in a statement from Hamilton, Bermuda.

The OSC has yet to respond to the request.

Brookfield Renewable said Monday this latest price is its "best and final" offer.

"As stated in its prior releases, Brookfield Renewable will not have any further discussions with the company regarding an alternative transaction."

Brookfield Renewable is one of many publicly traded companies within the Toronto-based Brookfield group (TSX:BAM.A), which is involved in power generation, real estate and natural resources. Its shares were down 10 cents, or 33 per cent, at $30.40 a share in midday trading.

Shares of Western Wind, which owns and operates wind and solar generation facilities in California and Arizona, were up 15 cents or 6.3 per cent to $2.53 by mid-day trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.