Barrick Gold signage at a convention in Toronto, Canada. Picture: REUTERS/CHRIS HELGRIN
Barrick Gold signage at a convention in Toronto, Canada. Picture: REUTERS/CHRIS HELGRIN

London/Toronto — Acacia Mining has said it’s worth a lot more than the takeover offer drafted by Barrick Gold, showing the African gold miner is digging in its heels in a long dispute with its top shareholder.

The company released a report by a consultant that put its “preferred value” at 271p a share. That’s 38% more than Barrick’s informal proposal to buy the company in an all-stock transaction currently worth 197p a share. Barrick said in a statement that it is reviewing the report against its own due diligence study of Acacia’s assets.

Barrick, which owns 64% of Acacia, also said its request to postpone making a firm offer until July 19 had been approved by the UK Takeover Panel. The company plans to meet early next week with Acacia and the consultant, and provide an update to shareholders.

The extension drags out the contested takeover battle even longer and comes after Barrick was already granted a three-week delay. In an interview in June, CEO Mark Bristow said he would use the time to lobby minority shareholders, but had no intention of raising the bid price.

The clock is ticking as Acacia, stuck in a public battle with Tanzania’s government since 2017, has seen its shares collapse by more than 60%. Acacia rose as much as 4% in London and was up 2.2% as of 8.55am.

Top officials in the East African country won’t engage with Acacia in any way, Bristow said last month, raising the possibility the situation could get even worse.

Two years ago, Tanzania imposed an export ban on Acacia and handed the miner a $190bn tax bill. Since then, the company’s position in the country has deteriorated further, while its relationship with Toronto-based Barrick has become increasingly strained. Acacia has been seeking to work out some of its issues with Tanzania through international arbitration, which is expected to begin in London later this month.

Bristow surprised the market in May with an informal plan to buy out Acacia’s minority shareholders for $285m in stock, a discount of about 8.5% based on closing prices of both companies at the time. Several minority shareholders reportedly baulked at the offer.

Bloomberg