Macarthur board declines Peabody’s $3.3 billion takeover offer

The board of Macarthur Coal today turned down a takeover offer from US giant Peabody Energy, deeming it "not in the best interests of shareholders in its current form."

The board of Macarthur Coal today turned down a takeover offer from US giant Peabody Energy, deeming it “not in the best interests of shareholders in its current form.”

Peabody is offering $13 per share to completely acquire the Macarthur, which itself is in the process of acquiring Gloucester Coal as well as Noble Group’s interest in the Middlemount joint venture.

According to the Macarthur board, the $3.3 billion Peabody proposal is conditional on the Gloucester offer not proceeding.

The takeover will also only go ahead with the support of Macarthur’s three major shareholders, CITIC Resources Holdings, ArcelorMittal and POSCO.

“The proposal does not fully value Macarthur and its significant growth prospects,” the company’s chairman Keith DeLacy said.

“Furthermore, Macarthur believes there are numerous strategic and operational benefits in the proposed acquisitions of 100% of Gloucester and Noble’s interest in the Middlemount joint venture, to which it remains committed.”

The company said the proposal 7.5% premium to the closing share price on 30 March of $12.09 was insufficient.

The company’s shareholders will meet next month to consider the Gloucester takeover.

“The board continues to recommend that shareholders vote in favour of the resolution at that meeting,” the company said.

Peabody has reportedly begun discussions with the major shareholders and it is understood that they allow them to retain their respective interests in a privatised, unlisted Macarthur.

“Peabody has indicated that disclosure of the proposal without its consent could diminish its interest in pursuing a transaction,” the company said.

“The board is of the view that all shareholders ought to know of the possible offer and the value ascribed to their shares by others before trading today.

“This is particularly the case in light of the heightened disclosure obligations arising from the current takeover bid for Gloucester and Peabody’s indication that it has already contacted Macarthur’s three major shareholders.”

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