Barrick sounds out First Quantum holders on possible bid – by Thomas Biesheuvel, Dinesh Nair and Alfred Cang (Bloomberg News – January 3, 2024)

Barrick Gold Corp. has spoken with some of First Quantum Minerals Ltd.’s major investors to gauge their support for a potential takeover, after the sudden closure of its flagship mine left the Canadian copper producer reeling and wiped out more than half its market value.

Barrick chief executive officer Mark Bristow approached some of First Quantum’s largest investors late last year, according to people familiar with the situation, who asked not to be identified as the talks were private. It wasn’t immediately clear if Barrick has made a fresh approach to First Quantum, and there’s no guarantee it will make a formal offer.

Gold giant Barrick has been seeking to expand in copper, and a deal with First Quantum would transform the company into one of the world’s biggest producers.

The smaller Canadian miner has been left vulnerable after Panama ordered the closure of its biggest and most profitable asset, creating a potential opportunity for Bristow — an industry veteran with a history of building and running mines in challenging locations.

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