Perseus gets key OreCorp shareholders on side with sweetened offer

Diamond drill rig on the Nyanzaga Hill. (Image by OreCorp).

Perseus Mining (ASX: PRU, TSX: PRU) announced on Wednesday that it has raised its off-market takeover offer for OreCorp (ASX: ORR) as it seeks to beat out Canadian rival Silvercorp Metals (TSX: SVM; NYSE: SVM) in acquiring the Africa-focused gold explorer.

The new per-share offer price of A$0.575 represents a 4.5% increase over its previous bid of A$0.55, which was turned down by OreCorp earlier in the year. However, the Perth, Australia-based gold miner has maintained its confidence in completing a deal, and earlier this month, it extended its previous offer to April 19.

Perseus currently holds 22.01% of OreCorp’s share capital, having increased its stake by another 2.11% immediately prior to the new offer. It is now the largest shareholder of OreCorp, just ahead of Silvercorp (21.11%).

In a news release confirming Perseus’ latest offer, OreCorp said it has notified Silvercorp of what is determined to be a “superior proposal” in accordance with the matching rights process set out in the bid implementation deed signed between the companies in December 2023.

Silvercorp, which initiated its takeover proposal in August 2023, now has a five business days to make a better offer.

Should Silvercorp fail to provide such an offer within the five-day period, the OreCorp board intends on recommending that shareholders accept the amended proposal in the absence of a superior proposal, the Australian gold developer said.

OreCorp also said it had received statements of intent from major shareholders, who in aggregate hold approximately 15.6% of its shares, indicating that they intended to accept the new proposal from Perseus.

At the heart of this takeover battle is the Nyanzaga project in Tanzania, located near Barrick Gold’s (TSX: ABX; NYSE: GOLD) Bulyanhulu mine and AngloGold Ashanti’s (JSE: ANG) (NYSE:AU) Geita mine.

A 2022 definitive feasibility study gave the project an after-tax net present value of $618 million at a 5% discount rate and an internal rate of return of 25%.

Geographically, Perseus is the closer suitor with three operating mines in West Africa producing gold at a rate of more than 535,000 ounces per year.

Silvercorp has two producing mines in China but has been looking to diversify its portfolio.