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People walk to Brookfield Place off Bay Street on the day of the annual general meeting for Brookfield Asset Management shareholders in Toronto, May 7, 2014.Mark Blinch/Reuters

Brookfield Asset Management Inc. BAM-A-T is part of a coalition that won the bidding to acquire an Australian telecom company in a $3.4-billion deal.

Brookfield Australia, a unit of Brookfield Infrastructure Partners, is joining with fund manager Morrison & Co. to buy Uniti Group Ltd., which said Thursday it will recommend the deal to its shareholders. The agreement includes a “no-shop” provision that precludes it from soliciting greater offers, and breakup fees if the deal falls through.

The bid tops a previous offer by a group that included Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board, which manages more than $200-billion for numerous federal employees. PSP joined Macquarie Asset Management in that offer.

Adelaide-based Uniti offers services to businesses and consumers and recorded 215 million Australian dollars ($201-million) in sales over the past 12 months, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.

For Brookfield, however, the Australian win was overshadowed by potentially missing out on another deal that will be the second-biggest acquisition in the world so far this year.

Italy’s Benetton family and U.S. investment fund Blackstone said Thursday they have proposed a €58-billion ($79-billion) buyout offer for Italian infrastructure company Atlantia, to take it private and stave off Brookfield’s offer for the airport and motorway operator.

The Benetton family company Edizione owns a third of Atlantia. The Benettons last week said they were in talks with Blackstone after they rejected an approach by investment funds Global Infrastructure Partners and Brookfield to acquire Atlantia and hand its motorway concessions to Florentino Perez’s Spanish construction group ACS.

Alessandro Benetton, chairman of the family holding company Edizione since January, said one of the aims was to preserve the integrity of Atlantia and its Italian identity, adding they had found in Blackstone a long-term co-investor and partner.

The Benettons and Blackstone said on Thursday they would offer €23 a share, a premium of 24.4 per cent to the share price on April 5, before speculation about the offer fuelled gains. The premium rises when taking a proposed dividend into account.

Blackstone, which is also part of a consortium led by Italy’s state-owned lender CDP expected to complete the purchase of Atlantia’s domestic motorway business next month, said it believed in the strength of the Italian economy and the future opportunities it would offer.

The deal would be this year’s second-biggest M&A transaction globally after Microsoft’s US$69-billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

With a report from Reuters.

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