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$1.5-Billion Stock Purchase May Halt Pickens Bid for Newmont

September 23, 1987|From Reuters

NEW YORK — Newmont Mining appeared to have slipped through the fingers of Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens Jr. on Tuesday after Newmont's British ally, Consolidated Gold Fields, raised its stake by buying some $1.5 billion of Newmont stock.

In a series of rapid-fire, market purchases Tuesday, stock traders said they believed that Consolidated, which owns 26.2% of Newmont, had raised its stake to as high as its legally allowed 49.9% by purchasing most of the 18.8 million shares traded.

Newmont has a 10-year deal with Consolidated allowing it to increase its stake but limiting the British mining firm to a 49.9% holding. Such a large stake by Consolidated Gold would make it nearly impossible for Pickens to gain control of Newmont, traders said.

Ivanhoe Partners, the takeover group led by Pickens, meanwhile sought a temporary restraining order in Delaware Chancery Court to stop Consolidated purchases, alleging that they will change control of Newmont and deprive its shareholders of the benefit of Ivanhoe's bid. The Court said it would rule on the Ivanhoe request this morning.

Lawyers for Consolidated Gold admitted purchasing shares Tuesday but did not reveal the quantity.

Nonetheless, Wall Street traders said they believed that Consolidated, through its adviser, First Boston Corp., accumulated more than 14 million Newmont shares at prices of up to $99 each, or $5 a share above Monday's closing price.

Newmont's stock closed Tuesday at $95, up $1.

Earlier Tuesday, Pickens' group said it reduced its bid for Newmont to $72 a share from $105 because of Newmont's plan announced Monday to take on debt and pay a special dividend of $33 at a total cost of $2.2 billion.

The new bid puts the value of Newmont at $4.8 billion, down from Pickens' previous bid of almost $7 billion.

If Pickens' group gives up its takeover offer, its 9.9% stake would qualify it for a dividend of nearly $220 million.

Newmont said Monday that it would initially draw on bank loans to pay for the dividend.

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