In a move that some market watchers believe may surprise Goldcorp (TSX:G,NYSE:GG), Agnico Eagle Mines (TSX:AEM,NYSE:AEM) announced this afternoon that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Cayden Resources (TSXV:CYD). The transaction will see Agnico Eagle pay about C$205 million, or $3.79 per share, for the company. Meanwhile, Cayden shareholders will be entitled to receive 0.09 of an Agnico Eagle share and $0.01 for each Cayden common share that they own. Today's press release states that the offer is a 42.5-percent premium to the volume-weighted average price of Cayden shares on the TSX Venture Exchange for the 30-day period ended September 5, and a 51.9-percent premium to the 60-day period ended on that same date. Those numbers sound pretty good, and for their part, Cayden's directors and officers seem to agree — all have entered into support agreements with Agnico Eagle under which they "have agreed, among other things, to support the transaction and vote their Cayden securities in favour of the Arrangement." Of course, that's not to say Agnico Eagle is getting the short end of the stick. It will be gaining Cayden's two Mexico-based gold projects, El Barqueno and Morelos Sur, the former of which has recently yielded good results. Highlights from drilling completed by Cayden not long ago include 4.26 grams per tonne (g/t) gold and 0.06-percent copper over 20 meters, as well as 2.34 g/t gold and 0.15-percent copper over 44 meters. Preliminary metallurgical testing, also completed by Cayden, has brought "positive results." That said, as CEO.ca's Travis McPherson points out in an article written today, Morelos Sur, which is made up of three concessions, is nothing to sneeze at. It's significant in that it contains the Las Calles sliver, which "straddles the the Los Filos and El Bermejal pits at Goldcorp's … Los Filos mine and limits Goldcorp's ability to push back its pit walls and access its gold." Many analysts had thought Goldcorp would eventually acquire Cayden to get access to that sliver.
Agnico Eagle has thus far been mum on potential backlash from Goldcorp, with President and CEO Sean Boyd simply stating, "[t]his acquisition is consistent with our long-term strategy of acquiring promising, early stage gold projects where we can add value through focused exploration and mine building." He added, "[t]his strategy has served us well in Mexico, and we believe that the Cayden properties are a very good fit with our existing southern operations and skill sets."Corroborating that statement, Tim Haldane, Agnico Eagle's senior vice president of operations, said, "[f]rom a technical perspective, El Barqueno bears a lot of similarities to Pinos Altos in the early days." The transaction announced today is expected to close before the end of the year, but is subject to approval from Cayden security holders, Mexican anti-trust and other regulatory approvals and court approval. Of course, market watchers will also be waiting to see if Goldcorp is spurred into making a bid for Cayden — if it does, Agnico Eagle will have five days to match its proposal. Shares of Agnico Eagle ended the day at $37.08 each on the TSX, not far from this morning's peak of $38.17; the company is up about 26 percent this year as a whole. Meanwhile, shares of Cayden closed $2.95 each, down slightly from a high of $3.09 earlier today. Securities Disclosure: I, Charlotte McLeod, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article. Agnico Eagle to Pay C$205 Million for Cayden Resources from Gold Investing News