The 100-Day War: An oral history of BHP’s hostile takeover bid of PotashCorp – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – November 13, 2020)

Ten years after it happened, the Saskatoon StarPhoenix spoke with key players in what was at the time the biggest business story in the world.

It was ten years ago that BHP Billiton tried to buy Saskatchewan’s most iconic company. The Anglo-Australian mining giant’s hostile takeover bid for Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. in the late summer and fall of 2010 was the biggest business story in the world at the time.

Tens of billions of dollars were at stake, not to mention a former Crown corporation at the heart of an industry that has long been considered the backbone of Saskatchewan’s identity, history and economy.

PotashCorp owned five of the nine potash mines then operating in the province, and employed thousands of people. It was also a global success, with operations around the world. And it was not for sale.

A decade after the ultimately unsuccessful takeover bid, the Saskatoon StarPhoenix spoke with the people who were there about what it was like — and what the so-called “100 Day War” for the province’s potash corporation means today.

Wayne Brownlee joined PotashCorp in 1989 and rose to become its chief financial officer:

“We had a sense that BHP had its eyes on PotashCorp. It was also just a function, I think, of being a publicly traded company. We knew the big miners were out there — BHP, Rio Tinto.”

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