Forrest may launch rival Huon takeover bid

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Andrew Forrest’s purchase of more Huon shares a possible threat to JBS takeover.

Following news that billionaire Andrew Forrest has significantly increased his stake in Huon Aquaculture, there is now speculation that a struggle for control of the Tasmanian salmon giant may be emerging.

Just days after a takeover offer from Brazilian meat-processing giant JBS, Forrest’s investment vehicle, Tattarang, has announced to the Australian Securities Exchange that it has increased its stake in the company to 18.51 per cent.

This makes Tattarang the second-largest shareholder in Huon behind JBS, which now holds a 40.53 per cent stake.

Speaking to ABC News, financial analyst Sam Baker said it would mean Mr Forrest could use his shares to vote in favour of or against any takeover proposal.

“It certainly appears as if this move by Andrew Forrest is designed to extract some influence on the company,” Baker said.

Baker points out that Australian Super, the largest Australian superannuation and pension fund, is another major shareholder, with a 12 per cent stake.

“Potentially with those two parties voting against this [JBS] proposal, it may well be that it does not proceed.”

Mr Forrest would not say whether or not he was considering making a counter takeover offer.