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Midwest up on Murchison bid

SHARES in Midwest Corporation Ltd surged last week on the back of Murchison Metals Ltd’s $939 million hostile takeover bid for the iron ore miner. On Thursday, the day after the takeover bid was announced, Midwest shares gained 42 cents, or 9.4 per cent, to $4.90 after earlier reaching a record high $4.98 as it told its shareholders to take no action in relation to the takeover bid by Murchison. Murchison shares also rose, climbing on the same day 6 per cent, or 31 cents, to $5.49. Midwest investors are anticipating a sweetened deal for the company after its board issued a statement saying it would wait until it had received a bidder’s statement before providing detailed comment on the bid. Murchison is expected to lodge the bidder’s statement by the end of this week. “Until Murchison lodges a bidder’s statement, Midwest is not in a position to fully and comprehensively assess the merits of the takeover offer,” the iron ore miner said. Midwest subsequently appointed Morgan Stanley as its adviser to assist it evaluate the offer. Murchison’s proposal offers Midwest shareholders one Murchison share for every 1.16 Midwest share. That offer could increase to one Murchison share for every 1.08 Midwest share, increasing the value of Midwest stock from $4.38 to $4.70. The two companies have separate neighbouring iron ore projects, at Weld Range and Jack Hills in Western Australia. Combining the assets would result in an operation producing between 40 million and 50 million tonnes a year. The companies are clamouring to develop new port and rail infrastructure in WA’s Mid West region and by acquiring Midwest, Murchison would eliminate its competitor from the contest. Murchison is backed by Japanese trading giant, Mitsubishi, while Midwest has a joint venture agreement with SinoSteel. Midwest is also backed by five Chinese heavyweights through its alliance with Yilgarn Infrastructure Ltd. Julie-anne Sprague

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