FILE PHOTO: Senior refinery technician Vincente Sandoval puts a gold "button" into a furnace to be further refined to form gold dore bars at Newmont Mining's Carlin gold mine operation near Elko, Nevada. Picture: REUTERS / RICK WILKING
FILE PHOTO: Senior refinery technician Vincente Sandoval puts a gold "button" into a furnace to be further refined to form gold dore bars at Newmont Mining's Carlin gold mine operation near Elko, Nevada. Picture: REUTERS / RICK WILKING

Toronto/New York — Newmont Mining rejected Barrick Gold’s $17.8bn unsolicited takeover bid, a deal that would have created the world’s largest gold producer.

The board unanimously rejected the proposal, saying it would not be better than Newmont’s previously announced takeover of Goldcorp, the Colorado-based company said in a statement on Monday. Instead, Newmont submitted a joint-venture proposal to Barrick that would encompass the two companies’ Nevada operations.

Newmont had raised serious doubts about Toronto-based Barrick’s proposal — a hostile all-share no-premium bid — from the day it was publicly announced on Febuary 25. Newmont said its previously announced agreement to take over Goldcorp offered better benefits, and CEO Gary Goldberg called Barrick’s takeover offer “desperate” and “bizarre”.

“The combination with Goldcorp is significantly more accretive to Newmont’s shareholders on all relevant metrics compared to Barrick’s proposal, even when factoring in Barrick’s own synergy estimates,” Goldberg said in the statement.

Barrick has no intention of raising its offer, a person familiar with the matter said last week. The top end of the gold industry has been in a state of transformation — in September, industry leader Barrick agreed to buy Randgold Resources for $5.4bn. Three months later, Newmont announced its plan to purchase for $10bn, which would leapfrog it into the leading gold-producer spot.

Barrick said that a joint venture between the company and Newmont in Nevada would not accomplish the benefits that come with combining the two biggest gold producers.

“Barrick’s experience with Newmont as a joint venture partner suggests that is not a transaction that would maximise value for either party,” Barrick said in its updated presentation on its website. “As a result, negotiations with Newmont over the years have not been fruitful and do not give us confidence that a suitable joint venture or similar transaction can be implemented.”

‘Better job’

Newmont’s shares fell 0.5% to $33.64 at 8.40am, before the start of regular trading in New York. Barrick was down 0.9% to $12.20. A spokesperson for Barrick had no immediate comment about the rejection.

“Since previous merger discussions terminated in 2014, Newmont has significantly outperformed Barrick on almost every metric,” Goldberg said in a letter Monday to Bristow and Barrick executive chair John Thornton. “Our management team has a consistent, long-standing track record of delivering superior execution,” he wrote. “In contrast, Barrick’s underperformance highlights its ineffective operating model, poor record on delivering stockholder returns, and significant jurisdictional risk.”

“Mark has never run a global portfolio,” Goldberg said in a February 25 interview, referring to Barrick CEO Mark Bristow, who until January 1 ran Africa-focused Randgold. “In fact, I’d say none of his team have run a global portfolio like what we have in place.”

On the same day, Bristow said his team could do a better job running his rival.

“I have spent a lot of time in Nevada, and I have no doubt that I can do a better job than Newmont,” Bristow said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.

Bloomberg