Potash Has Been Talking to Third Parties

Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan on Monday said it officially rejected BHP Billiton's acquisition bid and said it has been holding discussions with several third parties about alternatives.
Author:
Publish date:

Updated from 4:04 a.m. EDT

SASKATOON, Saskatchewan, Canada (

TheStreet

) --

Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan

(POT)

on Monday said it officially rejected

BHP Billiton's

(BHP) - Get Report

bid to

acquire the world's top fertilizer maker

for $130 a share and said it has been holding discussions with several third parties about alternatives.

"The board unanimously recommends that PotashCorp shareholders reject the BHP Billiton offer and not tender their shares," Potash said in a statement.

"The PotashCorp board of directors is unanimous in its belief that the BHP Billiton offer substantially undervalues PotashCorp and fails to reflect both the value of our premier position in a strategically vital industry and our unparalleled future growth prospects," said Potash CEO and President Bill Doyle, in a statement. "The board thoroughly reviewed the formal offer documents in connection with BHP Billiton's unsolicited offer and concluded that the offer is wholly inadequate and is not in the best interests of the company, its shareholders or other stakeholders. We strongly urge shareholders to reject BHP Billiton's opportunistic offer and not tender their shares."

>>After Potash: 4 Fertilizer Takeover Targets

Potash said it expects "superior offers or other alternatives" to emerge. The company said it has been approached by, and has initiated contact with, a "number of third parties who have expressed an interest in considering alternative transactions. Discussions are being pursued with several of these third parties in order to generate value enhancing alternatives."

It was reported earlier that Potash has been contacted by China's

Sinochem

and Brazil's

Vale

(VALE) - Get Report

, according to

Bloomberg

.

Sinochem and Vale made initial inquiries with Potash's board late last week about the possibility of holding talks, said a person with knowledge of the matter,

Bloomberg

reports, as have other companies.

Any competing offers would go up against BHP,

which went hostile with its $39 billion bid for Potash

last Wednesday, taking its offer of $130 a share directly to Potash shareholders. Potash last week called BHP's bid "grossly inadequate."

"We are closely watching BHP Billiton's bid for Potash Corp.," said Li Qiang, head of the president's office at Sinochem, by telephone from Beijing,

Bloomberg

reports. "This is big news for the industry and it's only natural that everyone is looking at it. I cannot verify that Sinochem and Potash have been in any form of contact." Sinochem is China's biggest chemicals and fertilizer trader.

Spokespeople for Vale and Potash declined to comment for

Bloomberg

.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel in New York.

RELATED STORIES:

>>After Potash: 4 Fertilizer Takeover Targets

>>BHP Formally Starts Potash Tender

>>Potash Goes Higher as BHP Goes Hostile

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