The world’s largest gold mining company, Canada’ Barrick Gold Corp.’s $7.3-billion bid for Equinox Minerals Ltd. was accepted by the Equinox board yesterday, pushing out a lower bid from China’s Minmetals Resources Ltd.
Year to date, it is the largest Canadian mining deal and one of the largest mergers in all sectors.
The Canadian legal advisers in the friendly takeover are Ogilvy Renault LLP for Barrick and Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP for Equinox.
Equinox is an international copper mining company dual-listed in exchanges in Canada and Australia. All its mining operations are in Africa and the Middle East. Canadian and Australian regulators will have to approve the deal. As part of its deal with Barrick Gold, Equinox also announced that it canceled a $4.9 billion hostile bid for Toronto-based Lundin Mining.
“Barrick is making an attractive offer to our shareholders that recognizes the value and potential of our company,” Peter Tomsett, Equinox chairman said in a statement. “The board, in conjunction with our financial and legal advisers, has made a thorough assessment of the options available to us, and determined that the value and certainty offered by this transaction is an excellent opportunity for our shareholders to realize significant value.”
Barrick offered to buy Equinox for C$8.15 a share, a 8.7-per-cent premium price over where the company was trading when the bid took place. The all-cash bid was 16-per-cent higher than Minmetals’ initial offer.
“Resources are scarce and when you have an asset of this size that is producing, it is rare that these types of opportunities come onto the market place,” Barrick Chief Executive Aaron Regent told reporters on a conference call before Minmetals pulled out.
Equinox had previously called Minmetals’ original C$7-a-share offer a low-ball bid. Minmetals, a government-backed unit of China’s largest metals trader, said in a statement it would not top Barrick’s offer and would seek other opportunities.
Ogilvy said it worked with Sullivan & Cromwell LLP from the United States and Clayton Utz from Australia on the deal for Barrick. Ogilvy’s team include: Lead: Terence S Dobbin (M&A), partner, Toronto. M&A: Pierre Dagenais, partner, Toronto; Paul Fitzgerald, partner, Toronto; Eric Reither, partner, Toronto; Evelyn Li, associate, Toronto; Matthew Hall, associate, Calgary; Chris Harris, associate, Calgary. Mining: Ned Steinman, partner, Ottawa; Dawn Whittaker, partner, Toronto; Oliver Moore, associate, Ottawa. Tax: Adrienne Oliver, partner, Toronto; Ted Citrome, associate, Toronto; Kevin Lam, associate, Toronto. Regulatory: Kevin Ackhurst, associate, Toronto. Financing: Peter Wiazowski, partner, Montreal.
Update: Oslers’ team involves: Corporate: Clay Horner, partner, Toronto; Doug Bryce, partner, New York; Don Gilchrist, partner, Toronto; Rob Hughes, associate, Toronto; Medard Fischer, associate, New York. Tax: Firoz Ahmed, partner, Toronto; Kim Wharram, partner, Toronto; Amanda Heale, associate, Toronto.
— With files from Reuters