Barrick Offers More Talk But Not More Shares for Acacia Stake – by Danielle Bochove and Elena Mazneva (Bloomberg/Yahoo Finance – June 18, 2019)

(Bloomberg) — Barrick Gold Corp.’s CEO has no intention of raising his offer to buy out the rest of troubled African unit Acacia Mining Plc — but he will use the next three weeks to talk.

Barrick said on Tuesday it received a three-week extension to make a formal offer to minority shareholders for the roughly 36% stake in Acacia it doesn’t already own. In a separate statement, Acacia said it’s open to a formal offer, provided the price is fair and its shareholders support the transaction.

“My job is to sit down in the next few weeks and work through it with the minority shareholders,” Barrick Chief Executive Officer Mark Bristow said by phone Tuesday. Asked if those talks will include an offer for a higher indicative price, he was unequivocal. “No, we’re not,” he said. “We’re not. We would have done that already.”

The clock is ticking as the London-listed unit, stuck in a public battle with Tanzania’s government since 2017, has seen its shares collapse by more than 60%. The Tanzanian government won’t engage with Acacia in any way, Bristow said, raising the possibility the situation could get even worse. “How much longer can these assets actually survive in a situation where the executive management of Acacia is unable to travel to the country, even?”

‘Being Genuine’

Two years ago, Tanzania handed Acacia an export ban and a $190 billion tax bill, saying it falsely declared bullion sales abroad. Since then, the miner’s position in the East African country has deteriorated further.

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