Macarthur bows to new bid from Arcelor and Peabody

MACARTHUR Coal has backed a sweetened offer from US-based Peabody Energy and the world’s largest steelmaker ArcelorMittal, in a deal that values the Australian miner at $5.2bn (£3.2bn).

Macarthur’s recommendation came after PEAMCoal, the vehicle owned by the bidders, raised its 1 August offer by three per cent to A$16 a share, also agreeing to add the miner’s A$0.16 a share dividend, for a total offer value of A$16.16.

The miner, Australia’s largest producer of pulverised coal, is highly sought after by steelmakers and has fended off four takeover attempts over the past three years.

In a statement to Australia’s stock exchange yesterday, Macarthur’s directors said a number of parties had conducted due diligence since PEAMCoal’s initial offer but “although it remains possible that a superior proposal might be made, none have emerged to date and there can be no assurances that any will emerge”.

Macarthur has also agreed to “no shop” and “no talk” restrictions to protect against talks with rival bidders.

Anglo American, one of the companies that has been exploring a counter-bid in recent weeks, declined to comment yesterday.