Home Business Miner BHP walks away from proposed $49bn Anglo American takeover

Miner BHP walks away from proposed $49bn Anglo American takeover

by Selinda Phenyo
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BHP inquisition of Anglo American

Australian mining behemoth BHP announced Wednesday that it has walked away from a proposed $49-billion takeover of British rival Anglo American that would have created a copper titan.

BHP said in a statement that it will not make a firm offer for Anglo American, ending a six-week saga and scrapping its gigantic proposal just before a key Wednesday deadline which its UK rival had refused to extend.

A core part of BHP’s plan was splitting off Anglo’s platinum holdings in South Africa, a politically sensitive move that stirred government opposition ahead of the country’s general election.

BHP’s offer had also proposed Anglo American hiving off its iron ore production activities in South Africa under plans to focus on copper, demand for which is booming over its use in green technologies and artificial intelligence (AI).

– No firm offer –

“BHP will not be making a firm offer for Anglo American,” BHP chief executive Mike Henry said in a statement bringing an end to their efforts, which had seen the Australian company twice raise its initial proposal.

“While we believed that our proposal for Anglo American was a compelling opportunity to effectively grow the pie of value for both sets of shareholders, we were unable to reach agreement with Anglo American on our specific views in respect of South African regulatory risk and cost.”

BHP remained confident however that its plan “was the most effective structure to deliver value for Anglo American shareholders” and could have “obtained all required regulatory approvals, including in South Africa”, he added.

The London-listed giant had rejected a third offer from BHP last week, worth £38.6 billion, but agreed to keep talks alive for seven more days.

In response to BHP’s overtures, Anglo had recently announced it would offload its coal, diamond and platinum businesses to focus on critical minerals.

Earlier on Wednesday, Anglo American had rejected BHP’s request to extend talks over its vast proposal beyond a 1600 GMT deadline for it to either make a concrete offer or abandon the bid.

The company said its board had unanimously concluded that there was “no basis for a further extension” for BHP to explore its proposal, adding that there were “fundamental concerns” over the bid structure and value.

The offer “includes the same highly complex and unattractive structure”, Anglo American argued.

Ahead of the deadline, BHP — which is listed in London and Sydney — had made a last-ditch attempt to mollify concerns and keep its bid alive.

“BHP believes that its proposal will contribute to South Africa and allow the benefits of South African mining to be shared with more South African stakeholders,” the company had insisted in its previous statement as it requested a further deadline extension.

– Crucial copper –

Any deal between two of the world’s largest resources companies would have fundamentally reshaped the sector, with far-reaching consequences for commodities markets and the global energy transition.

BHP’s interest was largely stoked by its hunger to secure a reliable copper supply.

Anglo American’s South American copper holdings include four of the largest copper mines in the world.

An electrical conductor used in wiring, the metal is seen as a bedrock of emerging clean-energy industries — a crucial component to manufacture solar panels, electric vehicles and rechargeable batteries.

It is also widely regarded as vital for the development of cutting-edge AI technology.

Copper prices have increased about 400 percent in the past quarter of a century, and broke $10,000 a tonne in April for the first time in two years.

The boom has already prompted a wave of investment, with BHP snapping up Australian copper producer OZ Minerals for more than US$6 billion last year.


Anglo American Mining behemoth BHP on Wednesday sought a deadline
Mining behemoth BHP on Wednesday sought a deadline


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