BHP ditches Merrill after Potash failure

BHP BILLITON has dumped corporate brokers Bank of America Merrill Lynch and is now considering a list of names for a replacement, to be determined in the New Year.

BHP’s decision follows the rejection of its expensive bid for Potash Corp by Canadian authorities last month, although BoAML was not actually actively involved in the bid on BHP’s side.

In fact, the investment bank was actively advising Potash Corp in its successful defence against the hostile bid. Potash also employs Goldman Sachs and RBC Capital Markets as brokers.

BHP’s move is a blow for BoAML, which has served as BHP’s corporate broker for five years, including in the run-up to the $39bn (£25.1bn) bid for Potash. The FTSE 100 miner will keep Citigroup on as a broker.

BHP has been criticised since the failure of its bid by some who say it was inevitable that Canada would block any attempted foreign takeover of the fertiliser company.

Instead, BHP has said that it will use some of its amassed capital to complete a formerly suspended $13bn share buy-back.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch refused to comment.