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Jul 12, 2017

Brookfield reportedly in talks to buy Brazil's J&F electricity unit

Brookfield Asset Management

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SAO PAULO -- Canada's Brookfield Asset Management has signed an exclusivity agreement to acquire power transmission lines owned by Brazil's J&F Investimentos SA, which is selling off assets to pay a record corruption-related fine, two people with knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday.

According to one of the people, Brookfield is offering up to 1 billion reais (US$311 million) for the majority stake that J&F's electricity unit Ambar Energia Ltda has in an 880 kilometer-long grid of transmission lines.

Revenue from the lines, which have 30-year contracts, renders Ambar Energia annual revenue of about 90 million reais, according to data from electricity industry watchdog Aneel.

Brookfield was not immediately available to comment while J&F declined to comment.

J&F is accelerating the pace of talks to sell assets as creditors pressure leading shareholders Joesley and Wesley Batista to renegotiate more than 30 billion reais their companies — including JBS SA — amassed in recent years. JBS is the world's No. 2 food processing company.

Both siblings signed in May plea and leniency deals related to their involvement in a massive corruption scandal in Brazil. Prosecutors imposed a world-setting record 10.3 billion-real fine on J&F and the brothers, who admitted to bribing 1,900 politicians to win businesses in recent years.