Takeovers Panel clears Hancock bid for Atlas Iron

The Takeovers Panel will not take action following an application from a Fortescue Metals Group subsidiary to conduct proceedings into the takeover bid for Atlas Iron.

Fortescue subsidiary NCZ Investments last week made the application to the Takeover Panel, claiming that Hancock Prospecting’s bidder’s statement for the proposed $390 million acquisition included “misleading statements.”

Hancock’s bid for Atlas has been offered through subsidiary, Redstone Corp. The Takeover Panel today said Redstone had agreed to incorporate disclosures from its supplementary bidder’s statement in a replacement bidder’s statement and clarify the operation of the bid’s conditions.

“Given these developments the Panel concluded there was no reasonable prospect that it would make a declaration of unacceptable circumstances,” the Takeover Panel reported. “Accordingly, the Panel declined to conduct proceedings.”

NCZ Investments submitted the application to the Takeovers Panel because it believed the Redstone’s bidder’s statement had “misleading statements and material omissions regarding Redstone’s intentions in relation to Atlas’s business, assets and employees and Redstone’s ability to achieve those intentions.”

It also said the statement included “material omissions regarding the implications of Redstone’s takeover bid for Atlas’s Term Loan B Facility and Hancock Prospecting’s intentions in respect of financing the repayment of that facility” and “misleading statements about the merits, terms and operation of Redstone’s takeover bid.”

Redstone made the 4.2 cent a share offer for Atlas Iron during June, trumping a $280 million bid from Mineral Resources for the junior miner.

Earlier in June, Redstone acquired a 19.96 per cent stake in Atlas, a week after Fortescue increased its ownership in the company to 19.9 per cent.

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