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Potash Reportedly Seeks Counteroffers

Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan is seeking alliances with companies that could put together an offer that would compete with BHP Billiton's $39 billion hostile bid, a report says.

SASKATOON, Saskatchewan, Canada (


) --

Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan


is seeking alliances with petrochemical companies, agri-business multinationals and Chinese sovereign banks that could put together an offer that would compete with

BHP Billiton's

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$39 billion hostile bid for the world's No. 1 fertilizer maker, the

Wall Street Journal


Sovereign wealth funds, Chinese banks or other national financial institutions could provide the funding for a global group that makes a counteroffer to BHP's bid, the


reports, citing people familiar with the matter.

BHP went hostile with its bid for Potash

on Wednesday, taking its offer of $130 a share

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directly to Potash shareholders

. Potash has rebuffed the BHP bid, calling it "grossly inadequate."

>>After Potash: 4 Fertilizer Takeover Targets

Potash CEO Bill Doyle hasn't ruled out a deal, the


notes, as he said Tuesday that the company wasn't

"opposed to a sale, we're opposed to a steal of the company."

People familiar with the matter described Potash's board and management as shareholder-friendly, and said Potash may decide to run a full auction to secure the best value for its shareholders, the



The newspaper notes how analysts have speculated that Brazil's


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and BHP rival

Rio Tinto

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could be logical buyers for Potash, but question whether either company can arrange the financing to buy the fertilizer comapny.

Potash, however, could be of interest to makers of chemicals, petrochemicals and fertilizers, the people familiar with the matter told the


. Chinese agricultural and chemical suppliers'



China National Chemical

have been aggressive in pursuing cross-border deals, the newspaper says.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel in New York.

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