23/11/2006 - 11:20

Mt Gibson ups stake to 50.5%, Aztec urges no action

23/11/2006 - 11:20

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Mt Gibson Iron Ltd appears to have won its hostile bid for control of fellow iron ore junior Aztec Resources Ltd after announcing today it had lifted its stake to more than 50 per cent.

Mt Gibson ups stake to 50.5%, Aztec urges no action

Mt Gibson Iron Ltd appears to have won its hostile bid for control of fellow iron ore junior Aztec Resources Ltd after announcing today it had lifted its stake to more than 50 per cent.

The board of takeover target Aztec Resources responded to Mt Gibson's announcement by urging shareholders to take no further action on the offer, which has been extended to 6 December 2006.

The extension came after Mount Gibson announced this morning it had acquired a stake of 50.5 per cent in Aztec, and two days after Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov acquired 6.9 per cent Aztec for $23.3 million.

Gallagher had previously acquired 19.9 per cent of Mount Gibson.

Since Mount Gibson made its first takeover bid in July, it has been rejected by the Aztec board, which has labelled the bid unsolicited and opportunistic.

The takeover battle has seen many twists and turns, with new investors acquiring strategic stakes in both companies and unexpected legal setbacks.

In particular, it was complicated by Aztec's issue in October of 77.7 million shares to Australian Royalties Corporation Ltd, to remove caveats that stood in the way of a refinancing arrangement.

This was followed by a move from Hong Kong-based Shanghai Merchant Holdings Ltd's to invest in both companies, acquiring a 6.5 per cent stake in Aztec and 10.6 per cent of Mount Gibson shares.

In an interview with WA Business News at the time, Shanghai's Sydney-based director Michael Bogue declared the takeover bid a failure at then-prevailing levels, calling on the two companies to negotiate an acceptable merger agreement.

Gallagher Holdings released a statement saying it would assent to the takeover bid if it was recommended by the Aztec directors, but Gallagher also reserved the right to accept the offer anyway.

Mt Gibson has an established mining operation in the Mid West region while Aztec is developing the Koolan Island mine in the Kimberley region.



The full text of an Aztec announcement is pasted below

The Board of Aztec Resources Ltd notes Mount Gibson Iron Ltd this morning has announced a relevant interest in Aztec of 50.5 per cent of Aztec shares.

As a result of Mount Gibson obtaining a relevant interest in Aztec of greater than 50 per cent, the Mount Gibson Offer has been automatically extended by two weeks and is now scheduled to close at 5pm (Western Standard Time) on Wednesday 6 December 2006.

Aztec directors will be in contact with Mount Gibson at the earliest opportunity to discuss this development. Aztec will keep shareholders fully informed and will make a further announcement with advice to shareholders well in advance of the new scheduled close of the Mount Gibson Offer on Wednesday 6 December 2006.

In the meantime, Aztec shareholders are advised to take no action until the Aztec Board makes a further announcement.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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