Xstrata to face Sphere rival

A rival bidder has emerged for Australian iron ore prospector Sphere Minerals, which has already agreed a A$514m (£320m) takeover bid by London-listed Xstrata. Sphere's biggest shareholder, Sin-Tang Development Pte, said yesterday it plans to reveal an alternative bid as soon as today. The group refused to support the takeover efforts of Xstrata, which currently holds an 8.15 stake in the firm and this week raised its offer by 25 per cent to secure an agreement from Sphere.