OTTAWA - The federal government has spiked a $5.2 billion deal by a Malaysian firm to take over a Calgary-based natural gas player.
In a statement issued minutes before midnight Friday, Industry Minister Christian Paradis spiked the deal saying that the bid by Petronas to take over Progress Energy Resources Corp. of Calgary did not meet Canada's net benefit test.
The Harper Conservatives have now rejected three takeover deals. The other rejections include a bid by a U.S. firm to buy a chunk of MacDonald Dettwiler of Richmond, B.C. in 2008 and the 2010 bid by BHP Billiton of Australia's bid to buy Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan.
The rejection of the Petronas bid is sure to have some wondering how the government will treat a bid by the Chinese state-owned firm CNOOC to spend $15 billion to buy Calgary-based oil-and-gas producer Nexen.
A decision on that deal is due in mid-November.
Canadian government officials could not be reached Friday night to explain why they announced the rejection of the Petronas bid in the middle of the night.
Normally, decisions affecting investors are announced after trading on North American stock markets closes at 4 p.m. EDT.
"Unfortunately, due to the strict confidentiality provisions of [Canada's foreign investment review] Act, I cannot comment further on this investment at this time," said Margaux Statsny, Paradis' communications director, in an e-mailed statement sent at 12:33 a.m. Saturday.