Top executives of BHP Billiton are said to have told a range of stakeholders while on a charm offensive in Johannesburg this week that their $39bn (about R720bn) bid for Anglo American — minus its South African assets — is not a “must do” transaction for the Australian mining giant.

Business Times understands that BHP CEO Mike Henry led the mission to South Africa to meet a range of stakeholders including local shareholders of both companies, government leaders and other parties with an interest in the deal...

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