Iron ore magnate Rinehart offers $290 million in cash for Atlas

Australia's wealthiest woman and mining tycoon, Gina Rinehart, became Monday the third party interested in buying Atlas Iron this year after offering A$390 million ($290 million) in cash for the junior miner.

The bid, made by Redstone Corporation Pty Ltd, a wholly‐owned subsidiary of Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting, comes only a week after news emerged that Redstone had accumulated a 19.96% shareholding in Atlas.

Trading of the junior miner shares was momentarily suspended before the announcement, climbing more than 23% after the halt to close at 4.4 Australian cents.

Gina Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting all-cash offer values Atlas at 4.2 cents per share, a 17% premium to its price of 3.6 cents on Friday at close.

The all-cash offer values Atlas at 4.2 cents per share, a 17% premium to its price of 3.6 cents before the halt.

Atlas iron ore assets have recently become the subject of a strategic bidding war. World’s No. 4 iron ore mine Fortescue Metals Group revealed in early June it had a 19.9% stake in Atlas, which was enough to block an earlier A$280.2 million bid takeover bid by Mineral Resources.

Rinehart’s represents a premium of around 41% from Mineral Resources’ offer, which was an all-scrip bid made in April. The company said Monday it was considering its position after learning about Redstone’s bid.

The acquisition would give Hancock, which owns the Roy Hill iron ore mine, a chance to use Atlas’ output for blending and to potentially extend the life of the company's existing mines.

Atlas holds a joint venture interest in North West Infrastructure (NWI), located on the southwest side of Port Hedland’s inner harbour, and wants to develop two new port berths there.

Currently NWI’s export capacity stands at 13 million tonnes a year, but the planned expansion would take its capacity up to 50 million tonnes annually.

Gina Rinehart is considered the 45th most powerful woman in the world and figures in the list of top 100 mining billionaires published by Forbes magazine. Her wealth is currently estimated at $18 billion.