The battle is on for Anglo American now that the global mining group has rejected Australian miner BHP’s “highly unattractive” merger proposal. BHP will have to present a proper bid by May 22 if it wants to pursue the merger. The jump in Anglo’s share price since news of the proposal emerged late on Wednesday means the “Big Australian” will have to come up with a better offer than the one it suggested when it first approached Anglo in mid-April.

Whether it will now make a formal bid at all is a question. But if it doesn’t, it will look like a chancer. And, either way, Anglo is now in play. It is under pressure to show it can deliver more for its shareholders as a stand-alone than it can by throwing in its lot with BHP, or indeed with other global miners that might now be emboldened to bid; Rio and Glencore have both been mentioned...

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