Mergers and acquisitions

Sirius 'in a corner'?

Mine under construction at Dove's Nest Farm, Sneaton, North Yorkshire
Sirius Minerals' plans include building a minehead at Dove's Nest Farm, Sneaton in North Yorkshire

Anglo American is in advanced talks to buy Sirius Minerals for 5.5p a share, valuing the business at £386m (see earlier post).

The offer is about 40% above Tuesday's close price.

Anglo's shares fell 2.25% on the news of the bid, while shares in Sirius jumped 35%.

As one of the largest miners in the world, it [Anglo American] has the financial clout and expertise to make this project happen. We also wonder whether the government may have offered certain assurances. The fact this offer is public could make raising cash for other sources very tricky now, if not impossible, forcing [Sirius Minerals] into something of a corner – even if the price is not the best they will have to accept it. The market knows they need cash asap but with this offer on the table, it’s now the only show in town – they have to recommend it or it’s curtains. Anglo is picking up a distressed asset on the cheap.

Neil WilsonChief market analyst,