Alinta back-tracks on Macquarie

Australian energy group Alinta says Macquarie’s attempt to join a possible buyout of the company was made with friendly intentions.

Alinta, an Australian energy group, has tried to diffuse the controversy surrounding the involvement of Macquarie, its long-time corporate adviser, in a possible management buyout of the company.

Earlier this week, Alinta dropped Macquarie as its corporate adviser after news emerged that the bank was backing a proposed buyout deal led by Alinta’s former chairman and chief executive.

The move sparked more controversy over the conflicts of interests at integrated investment banks who look to advise and lend money to clients, as well as invest their own money in private equity deals.

However, today’s statement said: “Alinta acknowledges that Macquarie’s approach on 8 January was made with friendly intentions, and that Macquarie identified that its ongoing advisory roles gave rise to conflicts of interest which needed to be resolved to Alinta’s satisfaction.”

The statement acknowledged that losing Macquarie from the bid team may have had a negative effect on the final price paid to shareholders. “Alinta believes that it is in the shareholder interests for Macquarie to be eligible to participate in bidding for the company,” the firm said.

Alinta and Macquarie are now negotiating over terms that will allow the bank to continue to work with the buyout group.