Anglo American rejects BHP’s revised $43 billion proposal

The Rustenburg Base Metals Refinery. (Image: Anglo American)

Anglo American (LON: AAL) rejected on Monday BHP’s (ASX, LON, NYSE: BHP) latest takeover bid which valued the company at 34 billion pounds ($42.7 billion), stating it was “highly unattractive” for its shareholders.

The new offer, received on May 7, was 10% higher than BHP’s first one, representing a 15% increase in the merger exchange ratio. The rejected bid would have lifted Anglo American shareholders’ aggregate ownership in the combined group to 16.6% from 14.8% in the earlier proposal.

“The latest proposal continues to contemplate a structure which the board believes is highly unattractive for Anglo American’s shareholders, given the uncertainty and complexity inherent, and significant execution risks,” the London-listed miner said in a statement.

The revised bid was still contingent upon Anglo selling its shares in iron ore and platinum assets in South Africa.

In April, Anglo American had already rebuffed a $39 billion all-share takeover proposal, stating it was opportunistic and significantly undervalued its prospects.

A merger would grant BHP approximately 10% of global copper production, enhancing its presence in leading copper-producing nations such as Chile and Peru.

In acquiring Anglo American, BHP would secure ownership in four of the world’s largest copper mines—Collahuasi (44% ownership), Los Bronces (50.1%), El Soldado (50.1%) and Quellaveco (60%). This move would increase the company’s copper exposure by approximately 40%.

“We are disappointed that this second proposal has been rejected,” BHP chief executive Mike Henry said in a statement.

“BHP continues to believe that a combination of the two businesses would deliver significant value for all shareholders.”

BHP has until May 22 to log in a binding offer.

“BHP wants the prize, but is not willing to take on the execution risk,” said Ben Davis, an analyst a Liberum.

“They’re hoping that Anglo shareholders are frustrated enough with management that they pressure them to go for this.” 

Meanwhile, shareholders of Anglo American are urging the company to accelerate the release of its turnaround plan.

Since mid-2023, the company has been reviewing its business, scrutinizing every mine in its portfolio to reshape its operations.

Shareholders want the miner to expedite this analysis and clarify to investors how it could generate more value than simply selling to a competitor.

Anglo may unveil its strategy as soon as the upcoming week, coinciding with the gathering of the world’s top mining executives at Bank of America’s annual conference in Miami, according to sources familiar with the matter cited by Reuters.

Shares of Anglo American fell 1.3% by 11:10 p.m. EDT. The miner has a market capitalization of £36.62 billion ($46 billion). BHP stocks were trading 0.4% higher at the same time, with a market cap of $143.7 billion.

(With files from Reuters and Bloomberg)