Mittal wins over more Arcelor shareholders; odds remain

Quoting French market regulator AMF, the London-based MarketWatch reported Zaleski''s fund management firm, Carlo Tassara, had bought 1.3 million shares of Arcelor on Thursday. It said the purchases brought Carlo Tassara International''s total Arcelor holding to 49.85 million or 7.8 per cent of Arcelor''s capital, up from 5 per cent.

The firm also said that Zaleski''s firm also met with Russian steel maker OAO Severstal adding that details of the meeting weren''t disclosed by Severstal, who announced the meeting.

Spanish investor Jose Maria Aristrain, with 3.55-per cent stake in Arcelor, also opposed the Severstal merger. Colette Neuville, another shareholder with a 2.3-per cent stake had moved court to thwart Arcelor''s proposed share buyback plan.

Mittal Steel, Arcelor and Severstal have also launched an advertisement blitz ahead of the Arcelor board meeting due on Sunday.

A Mittal Steel advertisement in the Financial Times said, "Arcelor shareholders, vote ''No'' to the forced Severstal merger," while a Severstal advertisement said it was pleased with the "high level of support expressed for our transaction", which it said was "extraordinarily compelling".

Arcelor, meanwhile, placed an advertisement in Belgian newspapers L''Echo and Le Soir asking shareholders: "Is it better to be everywhere or there where it matters?" and said a tie-up with Severstal would be better than with Mittal Steel as it would place Arcelor in key economies.