The bosses at two of the world’s biggest gold miners have been trading insults after a proposed mega-merger which would make them colleagues.
Barrick Gold chief executive Mark Bristow, who yesterday launched an $18bn (£14bn) hostile bid for Newmont, told Reuters his counterpart at the company is a “loser”.
Newmont boss Gary Goldberg, meanwhile, hit back by questioning Bristow’s “anaemic” credibility and experience during his time with Randgold, the company he founded.
The proposed tie-up of the two chief executives’ companies would create the undisputedly largest gold miner in the world.
It comes just months after Barrick completed the $6bn takeover of Randgold, creating the world’s biggest gold miner and getting its boss Bristow in the deal.
Meanwhile, Newmont, keen to leapfrog Barrick as the largest, tabled a $10bn bid for rival Goldcorp.
Barrick’s offer for Newmont would scupper the Goldcorp acquisition. However it would benefit the companies in Nevada, where they have already discussed a joint venture.
Even this became a contentious issue yesterday after Barrick tabled its bid. “I drive trucks past ... processing plants in Nevada, because Gary won’t share with me,” Bristow said.
Goldberg, however, questioned this “given that Bristow’s not really spent much time in Nevada to begin with.”
He added: “It feels to us that wherever Mark goes, he seems to be just firing people in order to boost returns.”