Newmont's 'no' to $17bn bid means end for creation of world's largest gold producer

Newmont had raised serious doubts about Barrick proposal - a hostile all-share no-premium bid - that would have resulted in biggest miner of yellow metal

Gold in a furnace at Newmont Mining operation in Nevada. The firm has turned down an offer from Barrick. Reuters
Gold in a furnace at Newmont Mining operation in Nevada. The firm has turned down an offer from Barrick. Reuters

Newmont Mining rejected Barrick Gold’s $17.8 billion unsolicited takeover bid, a deal that would’ve created the world’s largest gold producer.

The board unanimously rejected the proposal, saying it would not be better than Newmont’s previously announced takeover of Goldcorp, the Colorado-based company said on Monday. Instead, Newmont submitted a joint venture proposal to Barrick that would encompass the two companies’ Nevada operations.

Newmont had raised serious doubts about Toronto-based Barrick’s proposal - a hostile all-share no-premium bid - from the day it was publicly announced February 25. Newmont said its previously announced agreement to take over Goldcorp offered better benefits, and chief executive Gary Goldberg called Barrick’s takeover offer “desperate” and “bizarre”.

“The combination with Goldcorp is significantly more accretive to Newmont’s shareholders on all relevant metrics compared to Barrick’s proposal, even when factoring in Barrick’s own synergy estimates,” Mr Goldberg said.

Barrick has no intention of raising its offer, a source said last week. The top end of the gold industry has been in a state of transformation - in September, industry leader Barrick agreed to buy Randgold Resources for $5.4bn. Three months later, Newmont announced its plan to purchase Goldcorp for $10bn, which would leapfrog it into the leading gold-producer spot.

A spokeswoman for Barrick had no immediate comment on the rejection.

“Since previous merger discussions terminated in 2014, Newmont has significantly outperformed Barrick on almost every metric,” Mr Goldberg said in a letter on Monday to Barrick CEO Mark Bristow and Barrick executive chairman John Thornton. “Our management team has a consistent, long-standing track record of delivering superior execution,” he wrote. “In contrast, Barrick’s underperformance highlights its ineffective operating model, poor record on delivering stockholder returns, and significant jurisdictional risk.”

“Mark has never run a global portfolio,” Mr Goldberg said last month, referring to Mr Bristow, who until January 1 ran Africa-focused Randgold. “In fact, I’d say none of his team have run a global portfolio like what we have in place.”

On the same day, Mr Bristow said his team could do a better job running his rival.

“I have spent a lot of time in Nevada, and I have no doubt that I can do a better job than Newmont,” Mr Bristow said.

Published: March 5, 2019 09:00 AM


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