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Hanson's $5.6-Billion Bid Is Accepted by Cons Gold

August 08, 1989|From Reuters

LONDON — British industrial conglomerate Hanson PLC won control of Consolidated Gold Fields on Monday with a revised $5.6-billion (3.5-billion pound) cash offer for the London-based mining giant.

Hanson's investment bank, N. M. Rothschild, said it had acceptances representing 57.3% of Cons Gold shares, including 29.6% committed by South African-backed Minerals & Resources Corp. after Minorco's own bid for Cons Gold failed earlier this year.

Cons Gold's board recommended acceptance of the bid after Hanson improved a June 22 offer of $4.8 billion (3.1 billion pounds).

The deal ends a protracted battle for control of the West's second-largest gold mining company.

Minorco's cash and shares bid, which could have created the West's biggest mining concern, was denounced by political opponents who saw it as a South African exercise to extend interests abroad.

It finally collapsed in May after a U.S. federal judge dismissed a request by Minorco to lift an injunction blocking its bid for Cons Gold, which lapsed the following day.

Cons Gold and its 49%-owned U.S. associate, Newmont Mining Corp., had filed the antitrust proceedings in New York the previous October, saying a Minorco takeover of Cons Gold would create a monopoly in the world gold market.

Possible Asset Sale

Former socialite Lord Hanson, 67, became an industrialist with a formidable reputation on both sides of the Atlantic for buying groups and selling their less profitable units to raise funds.

Analysts believe that he might sell some of Cons Gold's mining interests, possibly attracting bids from Minorco for some of its divisions.

In the United States, Hanson's products include Jacuzzi whirlpool baths, Ground Round restaurants, Farberware cookware and SCM Chemicals. In June, it said it would sell most of its stock in Smith Corona typewriters.

The gold industry has shed much of its glamorous image in recent years. For Hanson, Cons Gold's crown jewel is probably its Amey Roadstone subsidiary, which analysts say would fit easily into its transatlantic business concerns.

Cons Gold, founded by British empire builder Cecil Rhodes, became a takeover target last September when Minorco launched its original bid of $4.6 billion (2.9 billion pounds).

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