Regulators Thwart Rio Tinto/BHP Billiton Plans for JV
“Both parties have recently been advised the proposal would not be approved in its current form by the European Commission, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Japan Fair Trade Commission, Korea Fair Trade Commission or the German Federal Cartel Office,” Rio Tinto’s statement said. “Some regulators have indicated they would require substantial remedies that would be unacceptable to both parties, including divestments, whereas others have indicated they would be likely to prohibit the transaction outright. The parties have mutually agreed that no break fee is payable.”
Plans for the joint venture were announced in June 2009, and definitive agreements were signed in early December 2009. Potential production and development synergies from the joint venture were estimated by the companies at more than $10 billion, including possible combining of current adjacent mines into single operations, ore blending opportunities, optimizing future expansion projects, more efficient use of rail and port infrastructure, and combining management, procurement and general overhead activities.
Rio Tinto chief executive Tom Albanese said, “The full value of the synergies on offer from a 50:50 joint venture was a prize well worth pursuing. Both companies have worked hard together over the last 16 months in a positive spirit to demonstrate its procompetitive effects, and I am disappointed that ultimately the regulators did not agree with us.”