Mining Giant BHP Makes $39 Billion Bid for Rival Anglo American

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BHP Group, the world’s largest mining company, has proposed a takeover of its rival Anglo American, in a deal that has the potential to shake up the industry at a time when demand for copper is soaring.

BHP said on Thursday that it had approached Anglo with a bid valued at 31.1 billion pounds, or $39 billion, in what would be one of the most significant deals in the industry in years. If successful, the acquisition would create the world’s largest miner of copper at a time of growing global hunger for the metal, which is essential to the green-energy transition.

Anglo confirmed that it had received an “unsolicited, nonbinding and highly conditional combination proposal from BHP” and that its board was reviewing the offer with its advisers. BHP, which has headquarters in Melbourne, Australia, offered Anglo’s shareholders just over 25 pounds per share.

Anglo, which is based in London, owns large copper operations in Chile and Peru, as well as 85 percent of De Beers Group, the world’s leading diamond company. It has been viewed as a potential takeover target for the world’s largest miners, especially following a 94 percent plunge in annual profit and a series of write-downs in February.

But its structures are complicated, a fact reflected in the complexity of BHP’s bid, which would require Anglo first splitting off its platinum and iron ore units in South Africa.

Analysts pointed out that BHP’s offer could spur others to make competing bids for Anglo, in part because the proposed deal would probably attract antitrust scrutiny. They recommended that Anglo spin off its diamond business, which has suffered recently from a drop in demand for luxury items in China and the United States.

“Anglo has said BHP has to make its intentions clear by May 22nd, and if they do formalize a serious bid, it could very well invite others to join in,” Ben Davis, an analyst with Liberum, wrote in a note.

Copper prices on the London Metal Exchange have risen 15 percent this year, approaching $10,000 a ton, as demand has increased with the rise in clean energy technologies like wind turbines, electric vehicle batteries and heat pumps.

In the United States, President Biden’s signature climate and energy law, the Inflation Reduction Act, contains hundreds of billions of dollars in tax credits to help companies switch to low-carbon energy sources, while Europe is pursuing a similar strategy with its Green Deal.

If successful, the acquisition of Anglo would create the world’s largest copper miner.

“Overall, we can see the sense in the deal for the copper assets,” analysts at Berenberg wrote in a research note. “But BHP is potentially buying a group of assets that need some care and attention, which, in our view, offer limited upside at this point.”



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