More Riversdale investors accept Rio Tinto deal

RIO TINTO edged closer to sealing its planned takeover of Australian coal group Riversdale Mining yesterday after it secured acceptances from 49.49 per cent of shareholders.

In order to mop-up more than 50 per cent of the shares, Rio has extended its bid, which had been due to close last night, until 20 April.

Rio announced the stake, the extension and, as previously flagged, the sweetening of the offer from $16 to $16.50, last night.

The firm lowered its acceptance threshold last month after more than four months of tussling, when Riversdale’s top shareholders, Tata Steel and CSN, refused to sell their combined 46.9 per cent stake.

Rio Tinto is pursuing bolt-on acquisitions rather than blockbuster deals this year, as it returns $5bn to shareholders under a buyback scheme.

Riversdale shares closed at A$16.42 yesterday in Australian trading before Rio’s announcement.