Forrest targets Rinehart in new twist in Atlas war – by Brad Thompson(Australian Financial Review – June 26, 2018)

Andrew Forrest has taken off the gloves and come out swinging in his billionaire brawl with Gina Rinehart over control of Atlas Iron.

Mr Forrest dramatically escalated the dispute when NCZ Investments, a wholly owned subsidiary of his Fortescue Metals Group, turned to the Takeovers Panel with a series of explosive allegations in relation to Atlas and a $390 million takeover bid from Mrs Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting and its subsidiary, Redstone.

The move represents the official declaration of war in the long-standing hostilities between the two Perth-based Rich Listers, who briefly saw eye-to-eye in 2010 during the campaign against Kevin Rudd’s resource super profits tax.

NCZ alleges that Redstone’s bidder’s statement has misleading statements and material omissions regarding Redstone’s intentions in relation to Atlas’ business, assets and employees and Redstone’s ability to achieve those intentions.

NCZ has a relevant interest of 15 per cent in Atlas and a further 4.9 per cent economic interest through a cash settled equity swap. Fortescue has yet to declare its intentions in relation to Atlas or to shed any light on its interest in the loss-making junior amid speculation that it wants to play a spoiler role based on concerns about market share and berth development at iron-ore export epicentre Port Hedland.

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