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Potash Seen as Fated for BHP: Poll

BHP Billiton's pursuit of Potash will end with the Aussie miner and the Canadian fertilizer maker striking a blockbuster megadeal, according to participants in our recent poll.
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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Two weeks into the takeover battle between Potash (POT) (the prey) and BHP Billiton (BHP) - Get BHP Group Limited American Depositary Shares (Each representing two) Report (the predator), and one thing is clear: Almost no one believes the world's largest fertilizer producer will remain independent when the drama reaches its denouement.

Too, almost everyone expects BHP to raise its offer from an initial $130-per share, $39 billion, attempt. Look no further, of course, than the closing price of Potash stock Friday: $147.73. It gained $2.91 during the session, although it lost 3% for the week.

BHP Will Raise Offer

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What remains to be seen is whether a rival (or

group of rivals

) emerges to compete in earnest for Potash, and, barring that, what price BHP will need to bid in order to win over Potash shareholders.

BHP's CEO, Marius Kloppers, will be coming to New York next week from London, ostensibly to discuss matters with the mining giant's own institutional shareholders here. If BHP were to raise its bid over a certain amount, it would need the approval of its own investors.

>>After Potash: 4 Fertilizer Takeover Targets

Earlier this week, after BHP released its best six-month results going back to before the financial collapse, Kloppers made sure to make the media rounds so as to publicly

douse any notion that BHP would be hiking

its offer price (anytime soon, at least), saying on the company's earnings conference call that BHP would be "disciplined" in its pursuit of Potash.

> > Bull or Bear? Vote in Our Poll

But Kloppers' trip to North America, as


reported Friday, is also almost assuredly a kind of roadshow/campaign trail endeavor, a lobbying effort meant to sway the Potash-shareholder electorate, so to speak.

Judging by our

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recent Potash-BHP poll

on the matter, readers of

The Street

mostly believe that Kloppers will ultimately be successful in that campaign.

>>BHP Gains Upper Hand in Potash Battle

Still, given the overwhelming assuredness among most professional investors that BHP will successfully acquire Potash, the poll (which has garnered more than 1,000 votes) was perhaps closer than expected. A little more than 58% of the survey's participants believe BHP will eventually subsume Potash. The other 42% either believe Potash will remain Potash, or that BHP will lose out in the bidding to another party.

-- Written by Scott Eden in New York

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Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.