SYDNEY, Australia (
) -- Australia's
said it has been approached by
about a takeover at 15 Australian dollars a share ($14.81), or $3.5 billion.
"These discussions were undertaken in confidence and Rio Tinto advised the company that it is not in a position to submit a proposal for the potential acquisition of the company," Riversdale said in a statement on its Web site Monday.
Rio's discussions with Australia's Riversdale could set off a bidding war.
reports Riversdale has hard coking-coal projects in Mozambique that could eventually supply 5% to 10% of the global market for the steel-making material.
is seen by analysts as the most likely rival bidder, as it already has coal mines nearby in Mozambique,
, Riversdale's top shareholder, was also seen as a potential bidder, as were
"While discussions with Rio Tinto are ongoing, there is no certainty that Rio Tinto or any other party will proceed with any proposal for the acquisition of Riversdale," Riversdale said Monday.
Rio Tinto has yet to comment on the talks.
-- Written by Joseph Woelfel
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