UPDATE 1-Gold firms look at Lihir, no new bid imminent -sources

* Barrick, Newmont, AngloGold look at Lihir books – sources

* Newcrest seen as only bidder

* Lihir data room closes June 8, no rival bids imminent
(Adds detail, quote)

By Michael Smith and Joseph Chaney

SYDNEY/HONG KONG, June 7 (BestGrowthStock) – At least four of the
world’s biggest gold producers have looked at the books of
Australia’s Lihir Gold (LGL.AX: ) but Newcrest Mining (NCM.AX: )
was seen as the only bidder, people familiar with the situation
said.

AngloGold Ashanti (ANGJ.J: ), Barrick Gold (ABX.TO: ), Newcrest
and Newmont Mining Corp (NEM.N: ) have looked at Lihir’s books
before the company’s data room is closed on June 8, but no new
bid was imminent, the sources said on Monday.

One of the sources with direct knowledge of the deal said
Barrick, Newmont and AngloGold were unlikely to launch a rival
bid, possibly leaving Newcrest as the only suitor for Lihir,
which operates key assets in Papua New Guinea.

Newcrest last month agreed to increase its bid for Lihir to
$8.4 billion and if successful, the deal would create the
world’s fourth largest listed gold miner by market
capitalisation.

While the data room closes on Tuesday, potential suitors
can still lodge bids after that date.

The most logical time for Barrick, Newmont and AngloGold to
lodge rival offers would be after the independent expert’s
report on the Newcrest offer was released in the next two
weeks, two sources said.

“It (a rival offer) is entirely possible. The only people
who would know that are the chief executives and the chairmen
of the parties in the data room. It doesn’t make any sense for
them to put in a bid on the table until they see the experts
report,” one of the sources said.

A spokeswoman for Lihir was not immediately available for
comment. An AngloGold spokeswoman declined to comment. Barrick
and Newmont were not immediately available to comment.

Lihir is being advised by Macquarie (MQG.AX: ) and Australian
boutique firm Caliburn. Newcrest is advised by Lazard (LAZ.N: )
and Bank of American-Merrill Lynch (BAC.N: ).

Stock Market Advice

(Editing by Balazs Koranyi)

UPDATE 1-Gold firms look at Lihir, no new bid imminent -sources