Anglo American rejects BHP calls to extend takeover talks deadline

Mining company Anglo American has rejected calls from suitor BHP to extend a deadline to strike a takeover deal.

The pair have been in talks over a deal worth almost £39 billion since Wednesday May 22 amid efforts to agree on the structure for a potential takeover of Anglo American.

Australia’s BHP faces a deadline of 5pm on Wednesday to make a firm offer or walk away.

On Wednesday morning, BHP urged its smaller rival to grant it an extension amid continued discussions between the two companies.

It said it had put forward a number of “socioeconomic measures” in an attempt to ease concerns over its bid, and called for more time to discuss these with Anglo American.

BHP’s three takeover approaches all had a requirement for its rival to spin off its South African operations, resulting in heavy criticism from the government in Pretoria.

Anglo American also opposed this.

In a statement on Wednesday, BHP said: “BHP believes that the proposed measures it has put forward provide substantial risk protection for Anglo American shareholders and supplement the significant value uplift that Anglo American shareholders will receive from the potential combination.

“BHP believes a further extension of the deadline is required to allow for further engagement on its proposal.

“This announcement does not amount to a firm intention to make an offer and there can be no certainty that an offer will be made.”

However, later on Wednesday, Anglo American rejected the move and said there is “no basis” for an extension.

It said in a statement: “BHP has not addressed the board’s fundamental concerns relating to the disproportionate execution risk associated with the proposed structure and the value that would ultimately be delivered to Anglo American’s shareholders.

“Also taking into consideration detailed feedback from the board’s extensive engagement with Anglo American’s shareholders and stakeholders, the board has therefore unanimously concluded that there is no basis for a further extension to the Pusu (put up or shut up) deadline.”

A mega-merger between the two companies would create the biggest copper miner in the world, with 10% of global output.

Anglo American’s vast reserves of copper are a key driver of the interest in the business, as the mineral is an important building block for low-carbon technologies such as solar farms and electric cars.

Earlier this month, Anglo American announced plans to break up major parts of the business and heavily slow down its development of a £7 billion North Yorkshire fertiliser mine.