Barrick proposes low-ball buyout offer for beleaguered Tanzanian subsidiary Acacia – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – May 23, 2019)

Barrick offered a nine per cent discount to the London-listed Acacia’s closing price, valuing it at US$787 million

Earlier this month, Barrick Gold Corp. chief executive Mark Bristow had said his company would consider buying out minority shareholders in its embattled subsidiary, Acacia Mining Plc, but only at the right price.

“The problem is that we are not prepared to overpay for these assets,” Bristow said. On Wednesday, the Toronto gold company made its price clear — proposing a share swap at 0.1533 of a Barrick share for each Acacia share in an offer that values the smaller company at US$787 million.

That’s a nine per cent discount to the London-listed company’s closing price on Tuesday, which comes on top of a 68 per cent decline since 2017 amid an ongoing dispute with Tanzanian authorities, which slapped a US$190 billion tax bill and banned the export of processed metals.

Acacia, which operates three mines in Tanzania, accounted for around seven per cent of Barrick’s 4.5 million ounces of gold production in 2018; and yet, Bristow told analysts earlier this month, the company’s problems have been a nagging frustration for Barrick.

During a presentation with analysts to discuss first quarter results in May, he laid blame for poor performance at Acacia at the doorstep of the company’s management, saying “it would be a lot easier if Acacia were more engaging in their discussion” with Tanzanian authorities.

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