UPDATE 2-NEWSMAKER-Price rules for Potash Corp’s suave CEO

(Adds Potash Corp soliciting other bids, paragraph 6)

* Potash Corp CEO considered an ace salesman

* Analysts see Doyle maximizing bid price for shareholders

* Doyle stands to make close to $500 mln, analysts say

By Euan Rocha

TORONTO, Aug 19 (BestGrowthStock) – Bill Doyle, the consummate
salesman, may be closing in on the biggest sale of his career.

The company he leads — Potash Corp of Saskatchewan
(POT.TO: ) — has spurned a $38.6 billion offer from the world’s
largest mining company, BHP Billiton (BLT.L: )(BHP.AX: ), saying
the bid was “grossly inadequate.”

But the plain-spoken Doyle — who was once described by his
former boss as “the best guy in the … sales department” —
wasted no time in saying what was at issue — the price.

“I am not saying that we are opposed to a sale, but what I
am saying is we are opposed to a steal of the company,” Doyle
said, responding to the initial $130-a-share offer, which BHP
now plans to take directly to Potash Corp shareholders.

Most investors are betting Doyle will get what he wants,
and if he plays his cards right, that could mean a
half-billion-dollar payday for himself.

Indeed, he already seems to be taking steps in that
direction. A source told Reuters late Thursday that Potash Corp
was soliciting bids from other parties that could drive the
offer price higher.

Looking like he stepped off the cover of GQ magazine, the
suave Doyle has become one of the most powerful figures in a
decidedly frumpy industry – fertilizer.

Together with his mentor, former CEO Chuck Childers, he
helped resurrect Canada’s Potash Corp — once a “crown
corporation” owned by the state — in a market plagued by
oversupply. They built the company into the world’s largest
producer of an agricultural input that’s now a hot commodity.

Doyle and Childers worked on a simple principle — price
rules. It’s a strategy that may now apply to Doyle’s stance on
the BHP bid.

Many believe that Doyle’s single-minded focus on price will
see him work to extract every last cent from Australia’s BHP
before agreeing to a deal.
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Take a Look on BHP’s Potash bid [ID:nN22340110]

Graphic on shareholders

http://graphics.thomsonreuters.com/F/08/CA_BHP0810.gif

Graphic deal calculator http://r.reuters.com/ruv65n

Graphic on top producers http://link.reuters.com/sus55n

Starmine comparative data: http://r.reuters.com/tem65n
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Eric Cline, a former provincial minister who worked closely
with Doyle, expects him to do everything possible to maximize
benefits for the company’s shareholders.

“Bill Doyle is a very, very articulate and persuasive
person. Highly skilled at dealing with people and pursuing the
agenda he wants to pursue,” said Cline. “I think he is one of
those people who could sell refrigerators to the Inuit.”

While it is unclear whether Potash Corp will eventually
surrender to BHP’s overtures, many analysts think a deal is
likely — at the right price.

Doyle, now 60, joined Potash Corp back in 1987, after being
lured away from International Minerals and Chemicals, where he
was head of international sales.

He became Childers’ right-hand man and was groomed to take
the reins. In 1989, the two men took Potash Corp public.

During the past two decades, as head of sales and later in
his role as CEO, Doyle has walked a tight-rope in maintaining a
delicate balance between demand and supply of the crop
nutrient.

In 2009, when potash demand collapsed along with a decline
in grain prices, Potash Corp operated only about 30 percent of
its operational capacity.

The crop nutrient sold for more than $1,000 a tonne at the
height of the commodity boom in early 2008. It has fallen to
about $350 a tonne today, but it still remains well above the
$100-$150 level where it traded through the 1990s and early
2000s.

“SUGAR DADDY”

Married with three children, Doyle lives in Chicago, not
Saskatoon, the largest city in the Prairie province of
Saskatchewan and home base for Potash Corp. He commutes between
the two cities regularly.

Doyle has a reputation for speaking his mind.

Last year, when asked about the fate of potash exploration
companies that were struggling during the global economic
downturn, Doyle said: “They really need a sugar daddy like me
to come along and bail them out.”

If BHP eventually clinches a deal, Bill Doyle will get
elevated to a new category of “sugar daddy.”

At the end of 2008, Doyle owned more than 3 million stock
options in the company — the majority of which can already be
exercised and cashed in at profit. If BHP’s bid is successful
at $130 a share, Doyle stands to gain roughly $400 million.

Potash Corp’s shares have already surged well above BHP’s
offer price, indicating that investors expect a sweetened offer
or competing bids to materialize.

Most analysts and some investors have said that it may take
at least $160 a share to clinch a deal. If so, Doyle’s stake
could be worth close to $500 million.

Doyle, dubbed by the media as the “Fertilizer King” when
potash prices spiked in 2007-2008, has worked in the fertilizer
industry for close to four decades, becoming one of its most
well-respected figures along the way.

A graduate of Georgetown University in Washington, Doyle
now sits on the boards of numerous industry associations.

Even BHP’s own chief executive, Marius Kloppers, is effusive
in his praise of Doyle.

“I met Bill for the first time in Chicago about a week ago
and he was what the industry said he is — a statesman within
the industry,” said Kloppers on a conference call this week.

Analysts believe that Doyle has prepared for this moment
for his entire career, carefully cultivating his company’s
potential and honing a strategy to maximize its value.

“I think that (Doyle) has thought about this day for years
and he knew at some point he would have to address this (a
bid). And I think he did it very successfully. I think he said
just the right thing,” said Soleil Securities analyst Mark
Gulley.

“It is gone, it is so gone,” Gulley said, referring to a
sale of Potash Corp. “All we are talking about out here is the
price.”
(Reporting by Euan Rocha in Toronto and Rod Nickel in
Saskatoon; Editing by Frank McGurty)

UPDATE 2-NEWSMAKER-Price rules for Potash Corp’s suave CEO