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BHP: Failed Potash bid won't change big deal strategy

BHP blows £545 million on three failed deals

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BHP Billiton will continue pursuing large acquisitions despite spending close to $875 million (£545 million) on three failed large-ticket deals, including the most recent bid for Potash Corp of Saskatchewan, the world’s leading fertiliser manufacturer, chairman Jac Nasser said Tuesday.

BHP Billiton withdrew its bid for $39 billion yesterday, after the Canadian government effectively blocked the takeover. This is the third failed takeover bid since chief executive Marius Kloppers took the helm in 2007 and follows the collapse of a joint venture with Rio Tinto last month due to competition issues and a full takeover of Rio Tinto in 2008.

At the annual meeting in Perth, Australia, Nasser denied that BHP would change their strategy and turn instead to smaller deals which would not be hampered by regulatory matters and reconfirmed the company’s commitment to major, high quality acquisitions.

Kloppers said that the commitments required by the Canadian government to complete the deal "would have required undertakings that would have been adverse to our strategy and counter to creating shareholder value" and reaffirmed BHP’s ongoing commitment to the potash industry and to continued investment in the business.

BHP Billiton CEO Marius Kloppers, waits for the start of the company's AGM in Perth. REUTERS/Rebekah Kebede

BHP committed the return of $4.2 billion to investors through a share buy-back scheme although some shareholders had hoped that this figure would be higher.

Shareholders were left frustrated at the news, but support for the mining company remained high and the news did not stop the shares from rising 0.5 percent to A$44.3.


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BHP: Failed Potash bid won't change big deal strategy
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