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UPDATE 3-Brookfield raises bid for Canada's Inter Pipeline, tops Pembina's offer

(Adds comments from shareholder, Inter employee, deal milestone and share activity)

TORONTO, June 2 (Reuters) - Brookfield Infrastructure Partners on Wednesday raised its hostile bid to buy Inter Pipeline Ltd to C$8.48 billion ($7.02 billion), topping Pembina Pipeline Corp’s C$8.3 billion offer to buy the Canadian oil and gas transportation company.

The latest offer valued Inter at C$19.75 per share, C$3.25 above the investment firm’s previous offer and 30 Canadian cents above Pembina’s offer on Tuesday.

Brookfield’s latest offer represents a 4.4% premium to Inter’s Tuesday’s close, and is comprised of 74% cash as compared to zero in Pembina’s offer.

The bidding war for Inter’s oil and gas pipelines, mainly in Western Canada, as well as storage facilities and processing plants, comes as North American oil futures touch a more than 2-1/2-year high.

The Brookfield bid for Inter, if successful, would be the biggest Canadian oil and gas sector deal in four years, according to Sayer Energy Advisors.

Brookfield, the largest shareholder of Inter with a 9.75% stake, according to Refinitiv IBES, said it was “disappointed by the seeming lack of fiduciary responsibility shown by the decision of IPL Board of Directors to support an inferior proposal by Pembina.”

The firm added that it was taking the offer directly to Inter Pipeline’s shareholders.

Inter Pipeline and Pembina did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.

A long-term Inter shareholder said investors are likely to support Brookfield’s cash bid given the uncertain economic times.

One Inter Pipeline employee said people were worried about their jobs in light of the Pembina offer, which promised C$150 million to C$200 million of cost savings.

On Tuesday, Inter Pipeline reiterated its recommendation, first made in March, that shareholders reject Brookfield’s earlier bid, saying the offer significantly undervalued the company.

Brookfield had previously said it could raise the offer to as much as C$18.25 per share.

Inter shares jumped 7.4% in Toronto to C$20.31, while Brookfield shares eased in New York.

Pembina stock rose 1/2% to C$38.28. (Reporting by Arunima Kumar in Bengaluru and Maiya Keidan in Toronto; additional reporting by Nia Williams in Calgary and Rod Nickel in Winnipeg; Editing by Maju Samuel and Jonathan Oatis)

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