Mike Cannon Brookes: AGL Energy’s coal spin-off plan canceled

Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon Brookes scored a huge win that will drastically change the course of Australia’s largest polluting company.

Billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes has apparently cleaned up Australia’s biggest polluter, with AGL Energy abandoning plans that would keep it burning coal for another 20 years.

AGL announced on Monday morning that its top management would step down and would no longer attempt to split its coal businesses following a prolonged period of pressure from Cannon-Brookes and other investors.

The Atlassian co-founder was the leading figure in a push to move AGL away from coal-fired power generation, which it would have done had it managed to split its highly polluting coal and gas operations into a new company.

Mr. Cannon-Brookes had made a couple of attempts to buy the company with the help of other investment firms before acquiring an 11.3% majority stake earlier this month via his company Grok Ventures.

It was this stakes, plus growing opposition from others, that ultimately seems to have sunk AGL’s plans.

The company on Monday insisted that the split was still a viable option, but said clear and growing resistance had still forced it – and its key management – to leave.

“AGL Energy believes that the proposed demerger would have been supported by a majority of shareholders, both retail and institutional, many of whom are long-term holders of AGL Energy shares,” he said.

“However, given the anticipated turnout and declared opposition from a small number of investors including Grok Ventures, AGL Energy believes the spin-off proposal will not receive sufficient support to reach the 75% approval threshold for one. agreement scheme “.

AGL CEO Graeme Hunt and President Peter Botten have announced that they will now leave the company with the spin-off no longer viable.

Board members Jacqueline Hey and Diane Smith-Gander are also leaving.

“Although the board of directors felt that the proposed demerger offered the best way forward for AGL Energy and its shareholders, we have made the decision to withdraw it,” said Peter Botten, chairman of the board of AGL Energy.

“The board will now undertake a review of AGL’s strategic direction, change the composition of the board and management and determine how best to create long-term shareholder value in the context of Australia’s energy transition.”

AGL supplies about a third of Victoria’s electricity, and its gas and coal plants are the largest emitters of greenhouse gases in the country, accounting for about 8% of Australia’s carbon footprint.

And there’s more

Originally published as Best brass jump ship when AGL Energy’s coal split plan was canceled