Newmont Mining (NYSE:NEM) rejected Monday rival Barrick Gold’s (TSX:ABX)(NYSE:GOLD) all-stock $18 billion hostile takeover offer, but left the door slightly open by countering with the terms of a deal to merge their operations in Nevada, U.S.
Chief executive Gary Goldberg said Newmont’s board had concluded that its planned $10 billion takeover of Canada’s Goldcorp (TSX:G) (NYSE:GG) was the best deal for shareholders.
“The combination with Goldcorp is significantly more accretive to Newmont’s shareholders on all relevant metrics compared to Barrick’s proposal, even when factoring in Barrick’s own synergy estimates,” he said. “Realizing value through Barrick’s proposal for Newmont’s shareholders hinges entirely on a new management team that lacks global operating experience and is only two months into its own transformational integration.”
Under its agreement with Goldcorp, Newmont is not allowed to engage with Barrick on its takeover bid after the board has determined that it’s not a “superior proposal,” the miner added.
“Newmont’s latest proposal is essentially based on the stale and convoluted process that foundered previously,” Barrick new boss Mark Bristow said in a statement. “As usual, it comes with unrealistic preconditions including swapping the chairmanship and the leadership of the JV. Experience has shown us that JVs only work well when the majority owner is also the operator.”
The offer rejection, anticipated by analysts, could consolidate the Colorado-based miner as the world’s biggest gold producer, with Barrick grabbing the second place and Australia’s Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) the third.
Newmont’s contra-proposal sees its Toronto-based rival holding a 55% interest in a Nevada joint venture, while Newmont-Goldcorp would have a 45% stake.
Barrick and Newmont have held merger talks every decade or so for almost thirty years, with the last one blowing at the 11th hour in 2014.
A combination of the two would have created the world’s No.1 gold miner with annual production of more than 10 million ounces. However, the Canadian firm has not offered a premium, telling shareholders they will benefit from the value created by merging the two companies.
Hostilities between the two companies have grown since Barrick’s approach last month. On top of the chief executives trading insults, Newmont has now released private communications between Barrick ‘s Bristow and Goldcorp chairman Ian Telfer in which he praises the Vancouver-based miner’s “strong portfolio” of assets in “world class districts”. Bristow has previously said that Goldcorp had only one top tier gold asset in its portfolio, which is operated by Barrick.