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Ring of Fire talks off, Wyloo ratchets up bidding war against BHP

Wyloo delivers $1.10 per share offer, but Noront urging shareholders to accept BHP deal
Noront Esker driller
(Noront photo)

Talks have ended between Australian rivals BHP and Wyloo Metals to acquire Noront Resources and its Ring of Fire assets.

And the bidding war has been renewed.

In a news release, Wyloo delivered a boosted offer of Cdn$1.10 per share, up 47 per cent from BHP's Cdn$0.75 per share from October for the takeover of Noront.

The companies broke off talks after what was termed "constructive discussions" by BHP to reach a "mutually beneficially arrangement" to get Wyloo to support BHP's bid to take over the Toronto junior miner. Discussions started in early November.

As a 37 per shareholder of Noront, Wyloo said it wouldn't support any alternate offers for Noront.

In its message to Noront shareholders, Wyloo noted that its new offer provides Noront shareholders with "true optionality" and greater certainty of a deal. "Without the support of Wyloo Metals’ 37.2 per cent direct interest in Noront, a competing plan of arrangement cannot be successful, and a competing take-over bid will be unlikely to meet any minimum tender condition," Wyloo said in a statement.

BHP and Noront are still urging Noront shareholders to accept the BHP offer.

Shareholders have until 7:00 p.m. Toronto time on January 14, 2022 to accept this latest offer.

Both BHP and Wyloo are eager to acquire Noront's mine-ready Eagle's Nest high-grade nickel, copper and platinum group metals project, located more than 500 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay in the remote James Bay region.

Noront holds more than 156,000 hectares of exploration ground, including two advanced chromite deposits, a critical ingredient used in the making of stainless steel.