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Li Ka-shing's CKI loses bid to buy out Hong Kong utility Power Assets

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Li Ka-shing's flagship infrastructure firm lost its bid to buy out a cash-rich Hong Kong utility for US$12.4 billion on Tuesday, in a defeat for the billionaire investor as he seeks to broaden his investments away from slowing growth in China.

[HONG KONG] Li Ka-shing's flagship infrastructure firm lost its bid to buy out a cash-rich Hong Kong utility for US$12.4 billion on Tuesday, in a defeat for the billionaire investor as he seeks to broaden his investments away from slowing growth in China.

Li's Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Ltd (CKI) already owns 39 per cent of Power Assets Holdings Ltd but its proposed all-stock deal to buy the rest of the company was rejected by nearly 49 per cent of Power Asset shareholders who voted on the deal, the companies said in a joint filing. "We are disappointed that the proposed merger ... was unsuccessful," CKI said in an emailed statement. "The group will build on the strength of our existing infrastructure portfolio and balance sheet to pursue new opportunities for expansion." Power Assets' US$8.8 billion cash pile was a major draw to Li as he sought funds to diversify away from slower growth in China and Hong Kong and towards global toll roads, power utilities and other infrastructure assets.

CKI had sweetened its bid for Power Assets in early October, increasing the share-swap ratio on the proposal by 2.5 per cent and offering a special dividend 50 per cent bigger than its original offer a month earlier.

REUTERS