PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Iron-ore major Fortescue Metals, through its subsidiary NCZ Investments, has made an application to the Australian Takeovers Panel in a bid to stop Hancock Prospecting from gaining a greater stake in takeover target Atlas Iron.
Hancock Prospecting recently launched a 4.2c a share cash offer for Atlas, in which it holds a 19.96% interest. The offer trumped a A$280-million bid from ASX-listed Mineral Resources (MinRes).
MinRes decided not to increase its offer for Atlas, prompting the majority of Altas directors to back the Hancock offer.
However, in its application to the Takeovers Panel, Fortescue, which holds a 19.9% relevant interest in Atlas, said that Hancock’s bidder statement contained misleading statements and material omissions regarding the company’s intentions in relation to the Atlas business, assets and employees.
Fortescue claims that the bidders statement also contained material omissions regarding the implications of Hancock’s takeover bid for Atlas’ term loan B facility, and its intention toward repaying this facility.
Fortescue told the Takeovers Panel that the combined operation of the identified misleading statements and omissions, and the structure of the Hancock bid had a coercive effect on Atlas shareholders to accept the bid.
The iron-ore miner has applied to the Takeovers Panel to restrain Hancock from dispatching its bidders’ statement and releasing any other information regarding the bid while the panel considers the application, and to preclude Hancock from acquiring any further shares until a corrective disclosure was released.
Fortescue was seeking final orders that Hancock provide corrective disclosure in the form of a replacement bidders’ statement, and that all the Atlas shares acquired by Hancock during the period in which Fortescue was claiming misinformation, be cancelled and unwound.