CHARLOTTE – Albemarle on Sunday dropped its $4 billion takeover bid for Australia-based mining giant Liontown Resources Limited. And according to the Wall Street Journal Australia’s richest person is a reason why.
“As the clock counted down on Albemarle’s four weeks of due diligence on the deal, Gina Rinehart was active in the market, building a stake that has reached 19.9% by Friday,” The Journal reports. “Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting was coy on its plans, but analysts noted it had acquired enough stock to frustrate Albemarle’s intention to take the company private.”
The companies, which are looking to expand lithium mining which is needed for batteries to power electric vehicles, had reached terms for a deal. But Albemarle withdrew its non-binding offer of $3 a share even as a due diligence process neared its conclusion.
Why? “Growing complexities associated with the proposed transaction,” Charlotte-based Albemarle said.
“Our engagement with the Liontown team has been meaningful and productive. We appreciate the level of cooperation we have received, and we thank the entire team for their efforts,” said Kent Masters, CEO of Albemarle, in the announcement. “That said, moving forward with the acquisition, at this time, is not in Albemarle’s best interests.”
Albemarle already is one of Australia’s largest lithium producers.