UPDATE 1-Rio Tinto near deal on A$16/share Riversdale bid -source

* Bid talks centre on A$16 per share offer -source

* Rio Tinto expected to bid alone, not as part of JV

* Deal not finalised but conclusion expected soon

* Anglo American, Xstrata and others may spark bid war –

(Adds detail)

By Michael Smith

SYDNEY, Dec 22 (BestGrowthStock) – Global miner Rio Tinto
remains in talks with Australian-listed coal miner Riversdale
over a A$16 per share takeover offer but a final deal
has not yet been completed, a source familiar with the matter
said Wednesday.

Discussions continued with an announcement expected either
later Wednesday or Thursday the source said, confirming a
local media report that Rio had offered around A$16 per share
for Riversdale.

A second source also said Rio and Riversdale were in
talks. There appeared to be some last minute wrangling over
price but a deal was still expected to be finalised shortly,
one of the sources said.

Rio was making the offer alone and not part of a joint
venture with another party, one source said.

Analysts have said Riversdale’s large shareholders were
potential obstacles to a deal. India’s Tata Steel
owns about 24 percent of Riversdale. Brazilian steelmaker CSN
and U.S. Investment firm Passport Capital
are also large shareholders.

Spokesmen for both Riversdale and Rio Tinto declined to

Shares in Riversdale, which said earlier this month it was
talking to Rio about a A$15 per share offer, were placed in a
trading halt on Tuesday ahead of announcement about a possible

An offer of A$16 would value Riversdale at A$3.78 billion
($3.77 billion).

The Australian newspaper said Rio Tinto had formalised an
offer to buy Riversdale for around A$16 per share.

The A$16 price is a 13.5 percent premium to Riversdale’s
close on Dec. 3, the company’s last trading price before news
of Rio’s interest was announced, but lower than its last
trading price of A$16.30.

There was some speculation Rio may offer up to A$16.50 but
one of the sources said Wednesday the price was closer to

Sources have previously told Reuters rival bidders may
start a bidding war for Riversdale. Potential interested
parties include Anglo American, , ArcelorMittal
and Xstrata .

Five state-run Indian firms have also confirmed they were
considering an offer. Brazil’s Vale was not
expected to bid.

UBS is advising Riversdale on the deal and Rio
Tinto is being advised by Macquarie .

($1 = 1.006 Australian Dollars)

(Editing by Balazs Koranyi)

UPDATE 1-Rio Tinto near deal on A$16/share Riversdale bid -source