EU delays Glencore-Xstrata merger verdict

The European Commission said Wednesday it is delaying the deadline to emit a verdict on Glencore International's $70 billion merger proposal with Xstrata (LON:XTA) after Glencore (LON:GLENA) made concessions to reduce EU concerns about potential concentration of interests in northern Europe.

The decision will now be announced on Nov. 22, the commission said on its website. The areas of concern involve the mining of hard coal and other nonferrous metals, it said.

The antitrust regulator didn't name particular areas of alarm, nor did it say what the remedies Glencore submitted on Tuesday were.

According to Reuters's sources, the commodity trader has offered to cancel an exclusive zinc sales and marketing agreement with the world's largest zinc producer Nyrstar in an attempt to win the EU final approval.

Abandoning the deal with Nyrstar would free up 350,000 tonnes of zinc metal to consumers, a source told Reuters.

The Xstrata-Glencore deal — initially billed as a "merger of equals" in February, but now more resembling an unfriendly takeover — was pushed to the verge of collapse in July when Xstrata's largest shareholder Qatar with 12% of the miner unexpectedly opposed the deal's terms.

Glencore already owns 34% of Xstrata and was offering 2.8 shares for every one of Xstrata, but in September Glencore CEO and largest shareholder with more than 15%, Ivan Glasenberg, relented under pressure and upped the offer to 3.05.

As part of the revised offer, which would be the largest corporate deal of the year, Glencore CEO and largest shareholder with more than 15%, Ivan Glasenberg, would lead the combined company and not current Xstrata CEO Mick Davis, who was earlier slated to lead a post-merger 'Glenstrata'.

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