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TAMPA, Florida (


) --

Walter Energy


submitted an offer to acquire Canada's

Western Coal

for C$11.50 ($11.29) a share in cash and stock.

Walter Energy, in a statement Thursday, said it has agreed to purchase 19.8% of Western Coal's shares from from affiliates of Audley Capital for C$11.50 a share, or a total of about C$630 million ($618.7 million).

Walter Energy said the total enterprise value of the proposal for Western Coal is C$3.3 billion ($3.24 billion).

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The offer is a 56% premium to Western Coal's closing price Thursday in Toronto.

Walter Energy said a combination with Western Coal would make it the "leading, publicly traded 'pure-play' metallurgical coal producer in the world, with unique and strategic access to steel producing markets in both the Atlantic and Pacific Basins."

The combined company, on a pro forma basis, would have total coal reserves of about 385 million tons, Walter Energy said.

Western Coal, in a separate press release, said it agreed to work exclusively with Walter until Dec. 1 while due diligence is performed.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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Joseph Woelfel

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