Barrick CEO Says Nothing Exploitive in Play for Acacia Shares – by Danielle Bochove (Bloomberg News – May 27, 2019)

(Bloomberg) — A low-ball proposal by parent Barrick Gold Corp. to buy out Acacia Mining Plc is an “appropriate” and “elegant” solution to a two-year dispute that has devastated the relationship between the global miner and one of its African subsidiaries, Barrick’s CEO says.

Barrick is not prepared to consider raising its bid at this point, Mark Bristow said Friday. He also declined to comment on the reaction his proposal has received from Acacia’s minority shareholders, saying only that he is engaged in regular discussions with Barrick investors, many of whom also hold Acacia shares.

“We’re not trying to exploit any particular situation,” Bristow said in a phone interview from New York. “At the end of the day we do believe it’s a well-considered, fair and proper proposal that should be taken seriously.”

Acacia has been at odds with Tanzania’s government since July 2017, when the state handed the London-listed gold producer a $190 billion tax bill, saying it falsely declared bullion exports. Barrick has led discussions with the government.

In an effort to solve the impasse, Bristow surprised the market earlier in the week with an informal plan to buy out Acacia’s minority shareholders for $285 million, a discount of about 8.5% based on closing prices of both companies on Tuesday.

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