BHP revives appetite for deals with biggest rivals in sights – by Thomas Biesheuvel and Dinesh Nair (Bloomberg News – January 18, 2022)

(Bloomberg) — After sitting dormant for more than a decade, BHP Group — once mining’s most aggressive dealmaker — is positioning itself for a return to large-scale M&A.

BHP has expanded its dealmaking team, including in London, and is interested in pursuing a transformational deal, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified discussing private information. The company is evaluating rivals including Freeport-McMoRan Inc. and Glencore Plc, they said, while emphasizing that there is no indication it is preparing any bids at this point.

A mega deal would cap a series of sweeping changes at the world’s biggest miner since Chief Executive Officer Mike Henry took over in early 2020. The company is seeking to expand in metals that will be needed for the green-energy transition, and is in the process of exiting oil and gas while pouring billions of dollars into a giant new potash mine in Canada.

A plan to collapse its London listing — which BHP says will make it more “nimble” — will be put to shareholder votes this week.

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