BHP makes $6.4 billion binding offer for OZ Minerals

Sunset at Prominent Hill. (Image courtesy of Oz Minerals.)

BHP Group Ltd. has made a binding offer to acquire Australian copper producer OZ Minerals Ltd. for A$9.6 billion ($6.4 billion), securing its biggest deal in more than a decade and boosting exposure to key materials used in clean energy and electric cars.

The A$28.25-a-share bid, first announced in November, will now go to shareholders for approval in late March or early April, BHP said in a regulatory filing Thursday. It comes nearly five months after OZ Minerals rejected its first offer of A$25 a share.

The deal, unanimously supported by OZ Minerals’ board, is set to consolidate BHP’s position as one of the world’s largest producers of copper, a core metal in the clean energy transition that’s expected to see demand soar by almost 60% over the next two decades.

The mining giant has said so-called “future-facing” metals, which also include nickel and fertilizer ingredient potash, are central to its growth as iron ore use plateaus and the world moves away from fossil fuels.

“The combination of BHP and OZ Minerals’ assets, skills and technical expertise provides a unique opportunity not available under separate ownership,” BHP Chief Executive Officer Mike Henry said in the statement.

The acquisition is BHP’s largest since the $12.1 billion purchase of Petrohawk Energy Corp. in 2011. OZ Minerals, which has operations adjacent to BHP’s huge Olympic Dam mine in South Australia, would add around 7% to BHP’s annual copper production. It also has mines in Brazil and a key nickel project in Western Australia.

BHP has reduced its coal business in recent years, and sold its entire oil and gas business to Woodside Energy Group this year.

The acquisition will be funded with “a combination of BHP’s existing cash reserves and cash equivalents, and the proceeds of a new loan facility,” BHP said.

(By James Fernyhough)


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