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Acacia Mining says it’s worth far more than Barrick offered

But the clock is ticking as Acacia has seen its shares collapse by more than 60%.

Acacia Mining said it’s worth a lot more than the takeover offer proposed by Barrick Gold, showing the African gold miner is digging in its heels in a long dispute with its top shareholder.

The company released a report by a consultant that put its “preferred value” at 271 pence a share. That’s 38% more than Barrick’s informal proposal to buy the company in an all-stock transaction currently worth 197 pence a share. Barrick said in a statement that it is reviewing the report against its own due diligence study of Acacia’s assets.

Barrick also said its request to postpone making a firm offer until July 19 had been approved by the UK Takeover Panel. The extension drags out the contested takeover battle even longer and comes after Barrick was already granted a three-week delay. In an interview in June, chief executive officer Mark Bristow said he would use the time to lobby minority shareholders, but had no intention of raising the bid price.

The clock is ticking as Acacia, stuck in a public battle with Tanzania’s government since 2017, has seen its shares collapse by more than 60%. Top officials in the East African country won’t engage with Acacia in any way, Bristow said last month, raising the possibility the situation could get even worse.

Two years ago, Tanzania imposed an export ban on Acacia and handed the miner a $190 billion tax bill, saying it falsely declared bullion sales abroad. Since then, Acacia’s position in the country has deteriorated further, while its relationship with Toronto-based Barrick has become increasingly strained.

Bristow surprised the market in May with an informal plan to buy out Acacia’s minority shareholders for $285 million in stock, a discount of about 8.5% based on closing prices of both companies at the time. Several minority shareholders reportedly balked at the offer.

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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