Anglo American Shares Surge After BHP Takeover Bid

What could be one of the mining sector's biggest deals in years would see another UK listed company delist from London

Alliance News 25 April, 2024 | 9:41AM
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UK London Stock Exchange

British mining heavyweight Anglo American (AAL) confirmed Thursday it was "reviewing" a takeover bid from its larger Australian rival BHP Group, in what would rank as one of the sector's biggest deals in years. Anglo American shares rose 12% on the news.

Anglo American did not disclose the price of the "unsolicited" offer, which must be sewn up before a deadline of May 22. 

BHP's offer would first hinge on Anglo American splitting off its platinum and iron ore operations in South Africa. Anglo's platinum operations are listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange under Anglo American Platinum, as are its iron ore operations under Kumba Iron Ore.

Joshua Mahoney, chief market analyst at Scope Markets, says the development is mixed news for investors:

“The approach from BHP Group to buy out Anglo American does provide a surprising boost for the downbeat mining giant whose share price had slipped 48% over the past two years.

"A successful takeover would form the worlds biggest copper miner, but strips the FTSE of one of its heavyweight mining firms. Nonetheless, UK investors will be relieved to see this potential takeover taking place within UK listed firms after a trend of approaches from US businesses seeking to drive growth by buying undervalued UK-listed stocks

Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets, Hargreaves Lansdown said the bid could be seen as negative for the UK's image as a place to list companies:

‘’The buyout offer from BHP, the world’s largest publicly listed miner, for Anglo American, won’t just shake up the mining industry, but will send a fresh chill through the City of London. There are concerns that if the deal goes through it could be the tip of the iceberg and more giants could leave the exchange.

"It comes hot on the heels of speculation that Shell might up sticks and leave for New York, rumours that Ocado may be considering leaving for the Big Apple, and follows the crushing disappointment of home-grown chip designer Arm choosing the Nasdaq over the FTSE 100."

Anglo Says Wait and See

Australian-based BHP has a market value of around $148 billion (£118.2 billion), while London-based Anglo American has a market value of about $36 billion. 

"The board is currently reviewing this proposal with its advisers," Anglo American said in a statement. "There can be no certainty that any offer will be made nor as to the terms on which any such offer might be made.

"Pending any further announcements Anglo American shareholders should take no action." 

BHP declined to comment.

BHP, already one of the world's largest mining operations, has recently been buffeted by plummeting nickel prices as well as legal costs related to a 2015 mining disaster in Brazil. 

Anglo American earlier this year announced plans to cut thousands of jobs across its slumping platinum operations in South Africa.

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