Dominion Diamond Corp., the world’s third-largest producer of rough diamonds by value, announced Monday that it would be acquired by The Washington Cos. for $1.2-billion (U.S.), four months after a previous unsolicited $1.1-billion offer from the privately held American company prompted Dominion to put itself up for sale.
If given shareholder and regulatory approvals, the deal would see Washington buy up Dominion’s shares for $14.25 a piece – a 44-per-cent premium to the $9.92 share price on March 17 of this year, versus its original $13.50-per-share offer.
In early-afternoon trading, Dominion’s New York-listed shares were up 4.4 per cent, at $14.07. Toronto-listed shares were up 5.4 per cent.
Montana-based Washington, founded by billionaire industrialist Dennis Washington, owns a network of companies in machinery, rail, mining, and other industries. The Dominion acquisition deepens Washington’s exposure to Canada – its portfolio includes shipping endeavours through Seaspan Corp. and Seaspan ULC that have significant operations in British Columbia – and will serve as a strategic long-term investment for the consortium.
“We’ve built our companies with the foundation of looking to invest over three generations,” said Larry Simkins, Washington’s president and chief executive, in a phone interview.