WorleyParsons founder and CEO John Grill has passed up the opportunity to join the exclusive group of 11 Australian families with a $1 billion-plus holding in a listed company by not taking up the vast majority of his rights in a $480 million capital raising.

The market is feverishly excited about the energy and resources engineering services company spending $1.1 billion buying Canada’s Colt group of companies as WorleyParsons shares rocketed $4.75 to a record $27.35 in morning trade – capitalizing it at $6.56 billion.

Never before has an Australian company managed to announce a $1.1 billion offshore acquisition and then tap the market in a capital raising priced at a 24% premium for institution wanting to jump on the register.

Shareholders are being offered shares at $21 a pop in a one-for-nine rights issue. UBS, which pocketed more than $20 million from the exercise and conveniently had its analyst declare a $32 price target on the company post-Colt, conducted a bookbuild for the surplus stock which was priced at $28 a pop.

John Grill only bought 357,897 new shares, lifting his stake to 32.94 million – 13.67% of the expanded share capital. Rather than shell out $76 million for 3.62 million new shares at $21 a share, Grill sold 3 million shares to institutions at the bookbuild price of $28.

Today’s share surge means that the founder has managed to walk away with a net $76.5 million in cash and watch the value of his slightly expanded shareholding soar from $736 million to $900 million.

It’s a crazy market at the moment but this is where Grill now sits in the league ladder of family shareholdings.

In one company transforming deal and capital raising in a resources bubble, he’s leapt ahead of people like Gordon Merchant at Billabong, the Myer family at Coles, the Fairfax family in Rural Press and Paul Ramsay and Ramsay Healthcare:

12 most valuable family Australian family shareholdings

1. News Corp, Rupert Murdoch: $11.74 billion

2. PBL, James Packer: $5.18 billion

3. Westfield, Frank Lowy: $3.84 billion

4. Aristocrat, Ainsworth family: $2.36 billion

5. Reece Australia, Wilson family: $1.78 billion

6. Fortescue Metals, Andrew Forrest: $1.66 billion

7. Harvey Norman, Gerry Harvey: $1.39 billion

8. Transpacific Industries, Terry Peabody: $1.29 billion

9. Seven Network, Kerry Stokes: $1.1 billion

10. Goodman Family, Macquarie Goodman: $1.09 billion

11. Multiplex, Roberts family: $1.012 billion

12. Worley Parsons, John Grill: $900 million

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey