Is First Quantum a takeover target? Here we go again – by David Berman (Globe and Mail – January 6, 2024)

First Quantum Minerals Ltd. has begun 2024 looking like a winning stock, but its early rebound may add another layer of risk to an investment that has been reeling from setbacks related to the company’s huge copper mine in Panama.

Just ask anyone who jumped on the rally by Laurentian Bank of Canada last July, in the hope of a bidding war for the struggling lender. By the time the bank announced six weeks later that no buyer had emerged, the shares were down nearly 30 per cent.

Now, First Quantum is beckoning investors with a similar promise. In the first week of January, the Vancouver-based copper producer’s share price has surged more than 20 per cent, even as the S&P/TSX materials index – composed of miners and other commodity producers – has retreated 1.4 per cent over this period.

The stock’s gains appear largely related to reports that Barrick Gold Corp. is considering a takeover bid for First Quantum, after the two companies reportedly discussed a merger proposal last year.

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