Barrick's Bristow is 'aggressive enough' to grab Newmont: Goldcorp founder Rob McEwen
Barrick Gold Corp.’s (ABX.TO) proposed takeover of Newmont Mining Corp. (NEM.N) will be a win for Goldcorp Inc. if the deal goes through, according to the founder and former chief executive of Vancouver-based Goldcorp.
“It’s been long-discussed that the synergies of putting Barrick and Newmont together shouldn’t be ignored,” Robert McEwen, now the chairman and chief owner of McEwen Mining Inc., said in an interview with BNN Bloomberg Monday.
“I think it’s a really lucky day for Goldcorp too, because they basically get a financing of US$650 million without dilution if the deal breaks apart,” he added, referring to the break-up fee if Newmont decides to walk away from its planned US$10-billion acquisition of Goldcorp.
“I guess you say, ‘Thank you,’” McEwen added. “[Goldcorp can] remain a Canadian company, they can continue to grow. There are going to be divestitures occurring, so they can either use it to reduce their debt – so improve their balance sheet – or they could look to acquire something else.”
Barrick said in a release Monday its proposal is a "significantly superior alternative" to Newmont's pending Goldcorp deal. Meanwhile, Newmont said its board will “fully evaluate” Barrick’s proposal and that its deal with Goldcorp is “the best opportunity” for shareholders.
“It might be hard for Newmont to swallow, but there’s huge synergies,” McEwen said. “But they’d also become such a mega producer – the distance between them and everybody else in the industry becomes a big question of, what happens next?”
In a letter to their counterparts at Newmont, Barrick’s Executive Chairman John Thornton and CEO Mark Bristow stated that the proposed deal is conditional on Newmont abandoning its takeover of Goldcorp.
Bristow also said in a conference call with analysts Monday that Newmont paying a 17-per-cent premium for Goldcorp, its "second-tier assets," and no synergies strikes him as “desperate and bizarre.”
In response to Bristow’s comments, McEwen acknowledged Goldcorp’s assets are not as strong as Barrick’s.
“They’re longer life, which is important,” he said.
Barrick formally proposed combining with Newmont on Monday, offering 2.5694 shares for each Newmont share. Barrick would own 55.9 per cent of the combined entity if the deal goes through.
Whether or not the market receives the proposed combination positively, McEwen said the flurry of activity in the sector is a good thing.
“We’ve been seeing a fairly good rate of activity in the space,” he said. “And I think it’s very beneficial for all gold producers because it’s drawing the public’s attention to this space that’s been ignored for the last five years.”