China's Citic finally backs Peabody, ArcelorMittal's Macarthur acquisition

Peabody Energy and ArcelorMittal have moved closer to acquiring Macarthur Coal after the target's major shareholder China's Citic Group accepted their A$4.9 billion ($5 billion) takeover offer.

Citic and its subsidiary Citic Resources Holdings holding a combined 25.2 percent stake in Australia's second-biggest coal miner yesterday accepted the A$16-per-share offer despite speculation that it had been holding out to launch a counterbid.

"We are pleased that these shareholders have decided to accept our offer, which delivers full value to Macarthur shareholders," Peabody chairman Gregory Boyce said in a statement.

The acceptance came a day after Peabody and ArcelorMittal extended the offer period for the third time to 11 November.

Macarthur's third-largest shareholder, South Korea's POSCO with about 7 per cent stake, has yet to commit to the deal.

With the acceptance of Citic, Peabody and ArcelorMittal now hold more than 49 per cent of Macarthur and may declare the offer unconditional on obtaining 50.01 per cent.