What Humphrey Bogart Can Teach the Gold Diggers – by David Fickling (Bloomberg News – March 5, 2019)


Barrick and Newmont have far more to gain from cooperating than bickering with each other. Here’s one way to get past their squabbles.

In the classic John Huston film “Treasure of the Sierra Madre,” a group of gold prospectors strike it rich before squandering their good fortune in a tangle of greed, distrust, murder and paranoia.

Something similar is happening to Barrick Gold Corp. and Newmont Mining Corp. in Nevada. Disagreements about how to manage and develop what’s arguably the world’s best-endowed area of gold deposits look set to ensure that both companies continue in an awkward and bad-tempered cohabitation, rather than growing rich together.

Every parent who’s dealt with siblings yelling “Mine!” at each other knows the way to end this sort of squabble: Take away the toys. As it happens, that might be a way to solve this fight.

The tussle has deep roots, as we’ve written. The companies have been circling each other for three decades, and the last major attempt to combine broke down in 2014. While you might have hoped that the arrival of Mark Bristow as Barrick’s chief executive officer in January would lead to a ceasefire, Monday’s round of fusillades suggests old enmities have resurfaced with a vengeance.

The problem ultimately comes down to disagreements about how to operate and develop the range of assets the two companies have in Nevada. On paper, these 12 mines should probably be combined into three or four mega-complexes. The question is how to divide the spoils.

For the rest of this column: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-03-05/barrick-newmont-gold-deal-tussle-could-be-ended-by-ipo