Canada’s Barrick Gold (TSX:ABX)(NYSE:GOLD) has once again bought itself more time to come up with a firm offer for the percentage in Acacia Mining (LON:ACA) it doesn’t already own.
The Toronto-based company, which has a 63.9% stake in the African miner, now has until July 19 to submit a new bid, Acacia said in a statement on Tuesday.
The move comes as independent consultancy SRK released a report arguing that Acacia’s worth is significantly more than what Barrick assumed. SRK said the Tanzania gold miner’s shares each could be worth as much as 281p.
Barrick’s original bid was pitched at an 8% to Acacia’s share price. Since then shares in both miners have climbed significantly, so the offer is now worth 196p, an 8% premium to Tuesday’s closing price (181.3p).
Acacia, Tanzania’s No.1 gold producer, said that its board continued to believe that, at a fair price, the proposed takeover would be an attractive solution for all stakeholders.
Barrick replied by saying it planned to meet early next week with Acacia and the consultant, and provide an update to shareholders.
Acacia, which spun off from Barrick in 2010, said SRK’s report was based on eight months of work and a gold price of $1,300 an ounce.
“The preferred and high value scenarios, which support the company’s life of mine plans, imply a valuation range of 271-281 pence per Acacia share,” it said. “The low value, which is considered highly conservative by the company, implies value of 203 pence per Acacia share,” it added.
The deadline extension also comes a day after Acacia posted a 19% output increase for the second quarter from its North Mara mine in Tanzania.
The miner has been embroiled in a battle with the East African nation since 2017, when the government banned exports of unprocessed metal and slapped Acacia with a $190 billion tax bill — equal to almost three centuries worth of revenue. The company was also forced to cut output by a third from two of its three mines in the country — Bulyanhulu and Buzwag.
The dispute over Acacia’s situation in Tanzania came to a head last month, when Barrick’s chief executive, Mark Bristow, said the miner’s plans were not appropriately risked or supportable and needed revising.
Bristow also said Acacia’s relationship with the Tanzanian government was so damaged that it could no longer function as an independent public company and warned of a “catastrophic” loss of value if minority shareholders opposed the deal.
Barrick has been negotiating with president John Magufuli on behalf of Acacia to resolve an ongoing row over taxes the East African nation claims it is owed.
Acacia reiterated that its preferred outcome remains to be achieving a negotiated settlement of its disputes with the Tanzania’ government. This, said the company, should lead to a lifting of the export ban and resumption of full operations at Bulyanhulu, while keeping North Mara and Buzwagi fully operating.