Noront Resources Ltd. has agreed to a $391-million takeover from Australian private equity firm Wyloo Metals Pty Ltd., trumping an earlier bid from global giant BHP Group Ltd., but the minerals development company in Ontario’s Ring of Fire region is leaving the door open to a higher offer.
Backed by Australian billionaire Andrew Forrest, Wyloo first proposed buying Toronto-based Noront in May for 31.5 cents a share. Melbourne-based BHP, the world’s biggest mining company, upped the ante with a 55-cents-a-share bid in July, and Noront’s board supported it. But Wyloo came back in late August, offering 70 cents a share.
“Based on an evaluation by the Special Committee and its advisors, the Noront Board of Directors has determined that Wyloo Metals’ proposal represents superior value for our shareholders,” Noront chief executive officer Alan Coutts said in a statement on Monday.
BHP now has five days to table a superior offer for Noront. If no offer is forthcoming, Noront will proceed with the Wyloo arrangement and its management and board will vote for the deal.
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