The Kerry Stokes-controlled Seven Group Holdings has ended weeks of speculation by this morning signing a deal to take over moribund Nexus Energy.
WestBusiness flagged the deal on Saturday.
The deal will deliver Mr Stokes a first major direct stake in oil and gas assets, including a Royal Dutch Shell-led floating LNG development.
Under the multi-layered proposal, Seven Group will offer Nexus shareholders 2c a share, a sharp discount to the embattled company's last trade of 5.9c, but also takeover its suffocating debt burden and offer an immediate $40 million bridging loan.
The takeover was struck ahead of a Thursday deadline by which Nexus had to conclude an asset sale as part of financing conditions that had the Melbourne-based company teetering on the brink of corporate collapse.
"As we have stated previously, our strong balance sheet provides us with the ability to act on investment opportunities in appropriate areas that diversify and broaden our portfolio, including the gas and energy sector," Mr Stokes said.
"We believe the proposed acquisition of Nexus Energy is an excellent investment, provided there is an immediate injection of the agreed major capital in the next several weeks.
"The investment provides SGH with an opportunity to invest in a business with quality assets and with strong growth prospects that will provide long term value. Realisation of the ultimate value of these assets will require substantial capital investment over time.
"This investment suits SGH's strategy to deploy capital in a sector in which Australia has a long-term comparative advantage. Our proposal also ensures these assets remain in Australian hands."
Seven shares were up four cents to $8.27 at 8.20am.