UPDATE 2-China sovereign wealth fund joins $6.3 bln bid for Australia's Asciano

Thu Jan 28, 2016 12:33am EST
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* Qube says China Investment Corp co-investor in Asciano bid

* $6.3 bln bid narrowly higher than rival Brookfield offer

* Regulators to look into CIC involvement amid political backlash (Recasts, adds analyst, ACCC comments)

By Byron Kaye

SYDNEY, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Australian port operator Qube Holdings Ltd said on Thursday a Chinese sovereign wealth fund was taking part in its A$8.9 billion ($6.3 billion) bid for rail giant Asciano Ltd, potentially complicating regulatory approval amid a political backlash against Chinese investors.

Qube revealed the participation of China Investment Corp (CIC) as it made the binding cash-and-share offer for Australia's largest rail freight network, which narrowly bests an offer from Canadian infrastructure giant Brookfield Asset Management Inc.

Qube also set out a plan to split Asciano's business if the deal is approved: Qube would have most of the ports business while its offshore co-investors - CIC, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Global Infrastructure Management - would own the rail business.

Asciano said in a statement its board was considering the Qube offer but continues to support the Brookfield offer.

Australia's anti-trust regulator has already raised concerns about a Brookfield takeover of Asciano, as both firms control sizeable rail assets across the country.   Continued...