THE LEX COLUMN: Bristow adds Acacia to his trophy collection
Takeover of Tanzanian gold miner could be seen as a mercy killing
Mark Bristow is fond of posing with big game he has shot, including a leopard, a lion and an elephant. Now the boss of Barrick Gold has another trophy in his sights: Acacia, a Tanzanian gold miner listed in London. You could see a takeover as a mercy killing. Acacia is locked in a long-running dispute with the Tanzanian government. But the offer looks unsportingly low. President John Magufuli has demanded that Acacia pay more tax and build an expensive gold smelter. Bristow claims Tanzania will no longer deal with Acacia. He cites a $300m tax bill as reason for paying just $283m for the 36% stake Barrick does not already own. Yet $250m of gold concentrate inventory — currently blocked from export — might be sold some day, says Acacia. Barrick, into which Bristow reversed smaller, stronger Randgold, is offering 0.153 of its shares for every Acacia share. The bid values the business at 7% below Tuesday’s closing price. That implies an enterprise value less than four times Acacia’s ebi...