Tinkler's consortium launches $5.3-bn bid for Australia's Whitehaven Coal

A consortium led by Australian mining magnate Nathan Tinkler today offered to buy Whitehaven Coal for $5.3 billion, a month after Australia's second-biggest independent coal producer rejected Tinkler's indicative proposal saying that the offer is too conditional. 

Tinkler, Whitehaven's largest shareholder with a 21.4 per cent stake, is offering to pay $5.20 a share, a premium of 50 per cent to the miner's yesterday closing price of $3.45.

The premium offered appears to be over generous considering coal prices have slumped in recent months and the near future demand outlook weak due to the global economic depression.

In a note to the Australian Stock Exchange, Sydney-based Whitehaven said it had received an indicative and non-binding proposal from the Tinker Group-led bid vehicle, BidCo.

The bid is conditional on a minimum of 48.3 per cent of Whitehaven shares being tendered to the offer. Tinkler Group said that it has already received support from Whitehaven shareholders holding 48.3 per cent stake.

Whitehaven said that it will consider Tinkler's offer and give BidCo exclusive access to its books for four weeks.