Newmont’s board unanimously rejected Barrick’s $17.8 billion unsolicited proposal, saying it would not be better than Newmont’s previously announced takeover of Goldcorp Inc. Instead, Newmont submitted a joint venture proposal to Barrick that would encompass the two companies’ Nevada operations, saying it would pursue that as well as its Goldcorp takeover.
Barrick is “definitely not” going to withdraw its hostile bid, Chief Executive Officer Mark Bristow said Monday in response to the statement and letter Newmont released earlier in the day. Barrick will take its offer to Newmont shareholders, and at the same time will try to advance talks about the possibility of a Nevada joint venture, Bristow said.
“Time is of the essence,” he said in a telephone interview, adding that Barrick plans to speak to Newmont “ASAP.”
In response, Newmont spokesman Omar Jabara said by email that “we look forward to hearing back from Barrick on our letter and joint venture proposal.”
Newmont had raised serious doubts about Toronto-based Barrick’s full merger proposal -- a hostile all-share no-premium bid -- from the day it was made public Feb. 25. The Barrick bid also led to a round of acrimony from both sides. Goldberg characterized Barrick’s bid as “desperate” and “bizarre.” On the same day, Bristow said his team could run Newmont better than Goldberg’s managers: “I have spent a lot of time in Nevada, and I have no doubt that I can do a better job than Newmont.”
State of Transformation
The top end of the gold industry has been in a state of transformation for five months. In September, industry leader Barrick agreed to buy Randgold Resources Ltd. for $5.4 billion. Three months later, Newmont announced its plan to purchase Goldcorp for $10 billion, which would leapfrog it into the leading gold-producer spot.
Amid the push and pull on the full Barrick-Newmont merger proposal, both sides showed willingness Monday to discuss the idea of a Nevada tie-up. Newmont proposed to give Barrick a 55 percent stake in a joint venture, the Colorado-based miner said in its statement.
But even on the JV issue, there was tension. While giving Barrick the larger share of a deal is “progress,” Bristow said in the interview, he said he would need to run the joint venture. Bristow also questioned whether Newmont is really committed to cooperation, or merely trying to block Barrick’s merger proposal.
Newmont’s shares rose 1.9 percent to close at $34.45 in New York Monday, while Barrick gained 1.6 percent to $12.51.
— With assistance by Steven Frank, and Dinesh Nair