Barrick agrees to buy Equinox, outbids rival

AP News
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Posted: Apr 25, 2011 8:27 AM
Barrick agrees to buy Equinox, outbids rival

Mining company Barrick Gold said Monday it has agreed to buy Equinox Minerals Ltd. for about $7.7 billion (7.3 billion Canadian dollars) in cash, topping a rival's offer earlier this month.

The purchase price works out to $8.57 (8.15 Canadian dollars) per share. That's a 9 percent premium to Equinox Minerals' last trade last week. It's also 16 percent higher than China's Minmetals Resources Ltd. offered earlier this month.

Barrick Gold Corp., based in Toronto, said the deal will position Barrick with significant production growth potential in Chile, a country with some of the world's most promising copper-producing regions. Equinox also has projects in Zambia and Saudi Arabia.

The Barrick deal has been unanimously approved by the Equinox board of directors. Equinox would pay a termination fee of about $263 million (250 million Canadian dollars) if it backs out of the deal.

Equinox, which is also based in Toronto, has also agreed to withdraw its takeover offer to buy Canada's Lundin Mining Corp., which it just extended last week.

The deal for Equinox is expected to immediately boost Barrick's earnings. The offer is expected to officially begin Tuesday and requires two-thirds of shares be tendered in favor of the deal.

Barrick currently owns about 2 percent, or 18.2 million, or Equinox's outstanding shares.