Potash has had ample time to find bids, BHP says

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (BestGrowthStock) – A Canadian provincial regulator should suspend Potash Corp’s takeover defenses because the company has had enough time to find an alternative to BHP Billiton’s $39 billion hostile bid, BHP said on Tuesday.

The securities regulator in Potash’s home province of Saskatchewan will hear BHP’s application to strike down Potash Corp’s shareholder rights plan on November 8-9 if the Canadian government allows the bid to proceed under a separate review process. The hearing will take place in Regina, the provincial capital.

“Potential purchasers or investors should not reasonably require more time than they have had to date,” BHP, the No. 1 global miner, said in a filing to the Saskatchewan Financial Services Commission.

Potash Corp, the world’s largest fertilizer maker, has told the regulator it needs more time to find an alternative bid because of the complexity of such a transaction and scarce global financing. The potash miner has said it has spoken with 15 potential investors or buyers.

But BHP said financing is readily available for qualified purchasers.

“Without concrete evidence showing the status of its search for alternatives, the commission should discount Potash Corp’s claims that prospective suitors need more time,” the Anglo-Australian miner wrote.

Potash’s rights plan, known as a poison pill, would let other shareholders buy more stock at a deep discount if any party amasses at least 20 percent of the outstanding shares. That would dilute the aggressor’s stake and make it prohibitively expensive to buy a majority.

Such defense mechanisms are intended to give a targeted company time to find alternatives, not to block takeovers indefinitely.

BHP’s takeover bid for Potash expires on November 18.

(Reporting by Rod Nickel; editing by Peter Galloway)

Potash has had ample time to find bids, BHP says