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Will BHP increase its bid for OZ Minerals?

Tuesday, September 20th, 2022

OZ Minerals Prominent Hill
OZ Minerals’ Prominent Hill mine in South Australia.

Media reports have indicated OZ Minerals is looking for $10 billion in any potential takeover.

According to “people familiar with the matter”, OZ Minerals believes an offer of $30 per share would better reflect the value of the company’s portfolio of future-facing resources, especially copper and nickel.

OZ swiftly rejected BHP’s unsolicited $8.4 billion, $25-per-share takeover bid in early August, saying that offer failed to properly value its assets.

“We are mining minerals that are in strong demand for global electrification and decarbonisation … and we have a long-life resource and reserve base,” OZ Minerals chief executive Andrew Cole told investors in a statement rejecting the August offer.

“We do not consider the proposal from BHP sufficiently recognises these attributes.”

While BHP is maintaining its focus on acquiring copper and other assets as the world moves towards net-zero emission targets, chief executive Mike Henry recently said the miner’s “strategy is not dependent on mergers and acquisitions”.

“We’ve got this very clear focus on growth in copper, but there’s a number of levers that we are pulling to unlock that growth, starting with getting more out of the big resources that we have,” he said in a shareholder Q&A session.

But new reports indicate the major miner might still be keen on its OZ bid.

Citing anonymous sources who are familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reported BHP has been considering raising its bid for OZ Minerals and could increase its proposal as soon as this month.

Both miners have so far declined to comment, and the sources were careful to point out there are “no guarantees” BHP will sweeten its offer, nor that OZ Minerals would accept any such offer.

However, a renewed play on OZ Minerals would align with BHP’s clear focus on purchasing more future-facing raw materials.

BHP is not alone in its pursuit of such resources. For example, Rio Tinto recently reached an agreement with Turquoise Hill Resources that will see it gain control of the Oyu Tolgoi copper mine, described as one of the largest known copper and gold deposits in the world.

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