WHEN Marius Kloppers succeeded Chip Goodyear as chief executive of BHP Billiton, an Anglo-Australian mining giant, he assured investors that their attitudes to mergers and acquisitions were “almost” identical. What he meant by that became apparent on Thursday November 8th when the world’s biggest miner admitted that it had “recently” offered to buy Rio Tinto, another vast mining conglomerate.
Rumours of a tie-up between the two had swirled around the mining industry for some time but his predecessor never quite went as far as Mr Kloppers. Such a deal would constitute one of the biggest takeovers of all time. Mr Kloppers, who assumed the helm of BHP Billiton on October 1st with a reputation as an ambitious and aggressive dealmaker, did not wait long to show that he was ready to attempt a deal that will reshape the mining industry....More