08 September 2012

High finance as you like it

I do hope that you have been following the Glencore/Xstrata affair.  It’s straight out of the movies.  This guy, Ivan Glasenberg (obviously a baddy - think Michael Douglas with a South African accent), the boss of Glencore, wants to take over Xstrata, led by Mick Davis (Matt Damon wearing a white hat - well maybe one that’s turned a bit grayish).  Ivan made an offer Mick could not refuse:  2.8 Glencore shares for every Xstrata share, oodles of dosh for Mick and a position as chief exec of the merged company.  But the Xstrata shareholders were not entirely happy - some of them thought that they being were sold down the river, notably the Arabs (in the form of the Qatar Sovereign Fund), the Vikings (yes the Norse oil fund was also involved) and dear old Standard Life.

It was expected to come to a head yesterday when the Xstrata shareholders were to vote on the merger/takeover.  (In Switzerland, of course).  At the last minute, Tony Blair (yes, he’s also up to his neck in this) managed to get Ivan together with the Qatari prime minister.  As a result, Ivan upped the bid to 3.05 Glencote shares per Xstrata share and apparently dumped poor old Mick by suggesting that he, Ivan, would be in charge of the merged company and that Mick could whistle for his expected dosh.

The amazing thing is that nobody seems to know where this leaves anybody.  Will the merger/takeover go through?  What will Mick do?  Does Ivan really want to get into bed with the Qataris?  And what about the Norwegians?  And will Tony make another intervention?  It’s all a bit of a mystery

This is an over-simplified version of the soap opera so far, but you have to admit that it's great entertainment ...

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