Vote on Glencore-Xstrata merger delayed due to ‘developments overnight’

Glencore International (LSE:GLEN) has postponed its Friday shareholder meeting where voting was set to take place on its proposed $34 billion takeover of Xstrata (LSE:XTA).

Reuters reports
that Glencore chairman Simon Murray has remained mum on the reasons for the delay, and said nothing more to shareholders than that there had been “developments overnight.”

Glencore has said in a statement that it is “considering its options” and requested suspension of its shares from trading in London and Hong Kong. Xstrata and key shareholder Qatar Holdings have declined to comment

Commentators generally believed that Glencore’s bid for a merger with Xstrata was poised to fail due to opposition from Xstrata’s second-largest shareholder Qatar Holdings—Qatar’s state-owned investment fund.

Glencore is a London-listed commodities giant with headquarters in Baar, Switzerland, which had its origins as a small firm founded by legendary trader and former fugitive Marc Rich. The company went public only a year ago and its current market capitalization is around $43.7 billion.

Xstrata is also a London-listed, Swiss-headquartered commodities firm. The company went public in 2002 and is currently worth approximately $46.8 billion. Glencore is Xstrata’s largest shareholder with a 34% stake.

The $34 billion dollar merger deal, for which Glencore would offer 2.8 shares in the new company for each Xstrata share, would result in a global commodities giant on par with BHP Billiton or Rio Tinto.

Swift approval of the deal was expected until Xstrata’s 12% stakeholder Qatar Holdings emerged as a surprise opponent in mid-June, demanding 3.25 new shares for each existing Xstrata share.

Glencore shares were down around 2% and XStrata shares up over 6% in Friday morning trading after both companies closed positive the previous trading session.

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