More important for Freeport shareholders, though, is the instant re-coloration of the stock they own. Freeport was supposed to be the premier copper company in the world. Now it is an oil and copper company, where I worry that maybe something's wrong with the copper side of the equation. Freeport's major overseas copper holdings are in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Indonesia. Lately, the company's had dire problems with the government of Indonesia and with workers at its gigantic Grasberg mine. Plus, the ore's become harder to pull out lately, and it is of a lesser grade. And could the Congo be less stable than we thought?
This acquisition shows the fallacy of playing the mining stocks instead of the ore. Those who like copper have reached for FCX. Turns out that this hideous acquisition shows the way to play copper is through the iPath DJ-UBS Copper Total Return Sub-Index (JJC), the exchange-traded fund for copper.
You have to be upset if you own FCX, and the anger is justified. It's just a terrible deal for FCX shareholders, but a great deal for MMR and PXP holders.