First Quantum's $5bn Inmet bid turns hostile

Canada’s biggest pure copper player First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (TSX:FM) has taken its $5.1 billion hostile takeover bid to the shareholders of metal miner Inmet (TSX:IMN) in an effort to establish a top-five copper producer.

First Quantum’s $72 per share offer in cash and stock is 36% more than Inmet’s closing price on Nov. 27, the day before the company said it had rejected two unsolicited proposals. The bid will expire Feb. 14 and requires acceptance by holders of 66% of Inmet shares, First Quantum said Wednesday in a press release.

“We are taking the significant step of making this proposal directly to Inmet shareholders and requesting their support,” CEO Philip Pascall said in the statement. “First Quantum and Inmet are very complementary in terms of their copper focus.”

If successful, the deal will be the biggest mining hostile bid since BHP Billiton (ASX, NYSE:BHP) withdrew a $40 billion offer for Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan (TSX, NYSE:POT) in 2010.

First Quantum holds extensive copper, nickel and gold assets throughout Africa and Australia, while Inmet mines copper and zinc in Turkey, Spain and Finland.

The Vancouver-based miner said the combined entity will have a projected output of 1.3 million tonnes per year by 2018.

In late December, Inmet lifted its estimate of copper reserves at its flagship Cobre Panama project by 27% and extended the projected mine life by nine years.

Inmet’s flagship project in Panama will be one of the biggest copper mines to come on line in the next several years as well as the biggest mining project ever undertaken in Central America. Cobre Panama is expected to produce 300,000 tonnes of copper per annum worth around $1.1 billion at current prices.

Image courtesy First Quantum

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