The Fortescue camp of billionaire Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest is insisting the white flag has not been raised in relation to its failed bid for Atlas Iron despite selling nearly half of its stake in the mining minnow.
On Monday, it announced it had cut its stake from 19.9 percent to 11.37 percent, which means it must have dumped its 4.9 percent derivative interest at a substantial profit – given Fortescue picked it up for an average share price of 3.14c – as well as selling off some shares it aquired.
The down side for Twiggy is that the stock it is dumping will almost certainly end up in the hands of the rival suitor for Atlas, fellow Perth billionaire Gina Rinehart.
But it doesn’t look like it will do her much good because of the 11.37 per cent stake that Fortescue plans to maintain which will prevent Rinehart’s troops from getting to the 90 per cent threshold which would lead to compulsory acquisition of the remaining stock.
In other words, Twiggy doesn’t need a 19.9 per cent stake to cause Rinehart all sorts of grief. And Fortescue boss Elizabeth Gaines has made it clear the miner plans to continue to be a thorn in Rinehart’s side, stating that it will maintain a “substantial shareholding for strategic: reasons”.
“Fortescue looks forward to participating in the future of Atlas lron and is confident that the directors of Atlas Iron will continue to act in the best interests of all shareholders.”
CBD is guessing that we can still expect the mother of all battles between the two billionaires and plenty of boardroom action as Twiggy attempts to thwart Rinhart’s ambitions for Atlas.
Fortescue gets to the nub of the matter when it states that it will “actively participate in tl1e proposed industry consultation with the West Australian state government regarding berth access at Port Hedland “.
It was the Atlas access to the port which allegedly got the two billionaires excited about the lossmaking miner.