UPDATE 2-Australian watchdog deals blow to $6.5 bln Asciano bid

Thu May 26, 2016 1:25am EDT
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* Regulator concerned about market power in ports

* Brookfield has already made changes due to regulator concerns

* ACCC delays final ruling until July 21 (Recasts, adds Qube, Asciano comments, shares)

By Byron Kaye

SYDNEY, May 26 (Reuters) - Australia's antitrust watchdog on Thursday raised fresh concerns about a planned A$9.1 billion ($6.5 billion) takeover of rail and port giant Asciano Ltd , potentially forcing the Canadian-led buyout consortium to restructure the deal.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) had been due to give a final decision but instead warned the deal may give Asciano's new owners too much control of the freight chain, and said it needed two more months to consult with industry players before it could make a ruling.

The buyout group - led by Canada's Brookfield Asset Management Inc and including companies from China, the Middle East and Australia - may have to appease the regulator by offering to sell some assets, Lonsec Stockbroking general manager equities and research Bill Keenan said.

"It's going to need some more adjustment to get it through," he said.

Brookfield agreed to modify its initial solitary bid for Asciano in January after the regulator expressed concern that it would have freight trains and tracks in Western Australia state.   Continued...