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Investors relieved BHP walked from Anglo takeover deal

30th May 2024

By: Reuters

  

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SYDNEY - Investors welcomed BHP Group's decision to walk away from a $49-billion plan to take over its rival Anglo American, which rejected three proposed offers from the top global miner over the past six weeks.

While BHP's Australian-listed shares fell 1.6% on Thursday, they were in line with its peers.

"As investors, it wasn’t obvious that the proposed deal was very accretive. Yes it would bring more copper to the portfolio, but depending on what they paid for it, it's not necessarily accretive to the share price," said Brenton Saunders, Pendal Group portfolio manager.

Anglo said after BHP's statement on Wednesday that it was fully focused on delivering plans it has set out to increase value to shareholders.

BHP's decision to withhold a binding bid came after Anglo said it would not grant the Australian-headquartered mining group a further extension to iron out details of a deal.

The developments ended a tense standoff between the two global mining giants and negotiations in which shareholders warned BHP not to pay too much to secure control over Anglo.

"This removes the risk of them overpaying and the big dilutionary share issue," said John Milroy, a private wealth adviser at Ord Minnett.

"Clearly they remain acquisitive and will be shifting through their other targets for building out the copper portfolio."

BHP aimed to win control of Anglo's prized copper assets in Latin America and increase access to a metal central to the global shift towards clean energy and electric vehicles, and analysts expect it will look for ways to seal a deal down the track.

"BHP will bide its time for six months and see how investors agitate on the Anglo side," said analyst Kaan Peker of RBC in Sydney.

The structure of BHP's proposal was the major stumbling block which required Anglo to unbundle its South African platinum and iron ore businesses.

Defending its position to reject BHP, Anglo outlined plans to divest its less profitable assets and focus on expanding copper output.

Anglo's shares closed 3% lower at 24.80 pounds in London trading on Wednesday.

BHP now has to wait six months before it can approach Anglo again under the British corporate laws, but it can return if a new party bids for its takeover target.

Edited by Reuters

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