BHP has no regrets as vows to continue the takeover hunt

City A.M. Reporter
GLOBAL miner BHP Billiton is still interested in big acquisitions and does not regret spending $875m pursuing three major deals that collapsed in the past two years, its chairman said yesterday.

“For me, the juice is worth the squeeze on every one of those,” Jac Nasser said after BHP’s annual shareholders meeting in the Australian city of Perth. “No pain, no gain.”

Nasser was speaking a day after BHP withdrew a $39bn bid for top fertiliser maker Potash Corp after Canada blocked the offer.

BHP scrapped an iron ore joint venture with rival Rio Tinto a month ago after running into competition concerns in Europe, Australia and Asia. It also abandoned a full takeover of Rio Tinto in 2008.

Nasser dismissed speculation BHP would turn to smaller deals because it is too big to win regulatory approval for major takeovers, and said top quality acquisitions were still available although he declined to name any. “Don’t look to us to be chasing smaller acquisitions of lower quality,” he said. Shareholders have continued to back chief executive Marius Kloppers, at the helm during all three failed acquisitions.