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After studying its finances Anglo American has decided against launching a $4.9 billion bid for Macarthur Coal.
The decision increases the likelihood that Peabody and its partner ArcelorMittal will take control of the company, after the Macarthur board agreed to a sweetened $16 a share bid from the pair last week.
After accepting the bid on Monday Macarthur chairman Keith de Lacy told shareholders it remained possible a better offer would be made.
There are still rumours that Chinese based CITIC Group is looking to put together a consortium to trump the Peabody ArcelorMittal offer.
CITIC has been in discussions with all parties interested in the Macarthur deal, and with Anglo ruling itself out of the contest attention is now turning to Noble Group as a possible partner.
CITIC is being advised by Macquarie Capital and Orion Corporate Advisory Services on the deal, and has seven of its own people working on it.
Anglo, part owner of the world’s biggest platinum and diamond producers, owns extensive coking coal operations in Queensland’s Bowen Basin which would have joined well with Macarthur’s mines and port operations.
Anglo’s expansion plans include the Grosvenor project in Queensland, which is scheduled for production in 2016.