(Bloomberg) -- Canadian miner Noront Resources Ltd. agreed to be acquired by Andrew Forrest’s Wyloo Metals Pty Ltd. in a deal that tops a rival offer from BHP Group.
Noront agreed to Wyloo’s “superior” offer of C$0.70 a share, which represents a 27% premium to BHP’s friendly offer of C$0.55 from July, the Toronto-based company said Monday in a statement. BHP has been given five business days to match the offer from the firm controlled by Forrest, an Australian mining magnate.
Shares of Noront fell 6.2% to C$0.76 at 9:55 a.m. in trading in Toronto.
Wyloo and BHP have been in a bidding war to gain access to Noront’s high-grade Canadian nickel deposits in a largely untapped region of northern Ontario dubbed the Ring of Fire. Mining heavyweights are racing to control more supplies of raw materials that are key to transitioning to low-carbon energy sources. Nickel is one of the key metals used in lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles.
Wyloo already owned about 24% of Noront’s stock and took further steps last month to lift its stake to 37.3% by swapping convertible debt into common shares. Wyloo said in August that its unsolicited proposal was more likely to succeed because it owns a chunk of Noront shares and doesn’t intend to support BHP’s offer. The deal values Noront at about C$321 million ($259 million), based on approximately 458.5 million shares outstanding as of July 31.
Noront’s main asset is the Eagle’s Nest deposit in Ontario, whose mineral wealth includes nickel, copper, chromite and zinc.
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