Dominion Diamond stock goes gangbuster on $1.1bn takeover bid

Canada’s Dominion Diamond Corp (TSX, NYSE: DDC) shares were going ballistic on Monday after the miner disclosed it had received a $1.1 billion bid from a privately held US conglomerate, but the two sides are at a negotiating impasse, which sets the stage for a public takeover fight.

The offer, originally made privately on Feb. 21 by Montana-based Washington Co., was only revealed by both companies on Sunday, leading to today’s investors’ frenzy.

Washington Co., which has interests in mining, marine and rail transportation, as well as heavy equipment distribution, is offering US$13.50 (Cdn$18.04) per share cash for Dominion Diamond.

The stock was up almost 22% to Cdn$16.09 at 11:48am in Toronto and was changing hands at $11.90 in New York at 12:03pm, 20% higher than it closing price on Friday.

Washington Co., which has interests in mining, marine and rail transportation, as well as heavy equipment distribution, is offering US$13.50 (Cdn$18.04) per share cash for Dominion Diamond. That's 36% above the closing price of the Canadian miner’s shares on Friday and 53% more than their closing price on Thursday, when talks between the two came to a halt.

“We are disappointed that Dominion’s board has thus far prevented Washington from moving ahead with its proposal under which shareholders would receive a substantial premium and immediate liquidity," Washington president Lawrence R. Simkins said in a statement Sunday. "But we remain fully committed to completing this transaction,” he added.

Dominion Diamond announced earlier this year that its chief executive officer Brendan Bell was leaving the company due to personal reasons related to the company's planned move of headquarters to Calgary from Yellowknife.

Over the past year, Dominion — the world’s third largest producer of rough diamonds by value — was hit by weak global diamond prices, as well as sudden challenges, including the death of the company’s founder, Robert Gannicott, and a fire at Ekati that suspended processing for three months and cost the miner around $20 million in repairs.

Dominion’s move to Calgary, expected to be completed by mid-2017, follows a similar decision by De Beers Canada, which moved its headquarters from Toronto to Calgary in July last year.