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OZ Minerals has agreed to BHP’s increased takeover offer of $9.6 billion, ending several months of speculation over the deal.

The miners have agreed to a further week to finalise their $9.6 billion takeover deal.

BHP and OZ Minerals had reportedly been working furiously to finalise the deal before the end of the exclusivity period, originally due to expire this week, but the companies have agreed to extend that negotiating window until Tuesday December 27.

“The extension allows for finalisation and agreement of the binding scheme implementation deed,” the OZ Minerals board said in a regulatory filing.

When BHP finally landed its long-desired target last month, the Big Australian was granted four weeks to conduct due diligence, starting Monday November 21.

Many in the industry had been questioning whether all of the necessary boxes will be ticked in time, but the new extension would seem to give both sides more breathing room to finalise the deal before the end of the calendar year.

BHP’s efforts to acquire OZ Minerals, along with its considerable portfolio of future-facing resources, first started with an unsolicited $25-per-share ($8.4 billion) bid in August. When OZ quickly rejected that deal, BHP indicated it was a fair offer and that it was unlikely to return to the negotiation table.

But industry experts continued to speculate that BHP’s desire for resources like copper and nickel would bring it back to the deal, and that belief proved correct when the two sides resumed talks in November and BHP upped its offer to $9.6 billion.

The final offer of $28.25-per-share offer represents a 49 per cent premium on OZ Minerals’ stock price prior to BHP’s initial bid in August.

While the OZ Minerals board has previously indicated it would unanimously recommend BHP’s revised proposal, it said in its announcement on Tuesday morning that the terms of any takeover deed remained subject to the approval of its shareholders and the BHP board.