UPDATE 3-Inmet battle goes hostile, investors hope for more

Mon Dec 17, 2012 4:55pm EST
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* First Quantum launches C$72/share cash and share bid

* Combination would create one of top 5 copper producers

* Door left open for friendly deal with Inmet

* Inmet shares close up 4.32 percent at C$72.85 on TSX

* First Quantum ends down 4 percent at C$20.11

By Julie Gordon and Clara Ferreira-Marques

TORONTO/LONDON, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Shares of Inmet Mining Corp jumped Monday after First Quantum Minerals Ltd sweetened its offer for its Canadian rival to C$5.1 billion ($5.2 billion) and said it was taking the deal directly to shareholders in a bid to control one of the world's largest untapped copper deposits.

The C$72-a-share cash and paper offer, announced by First Quantum on Sunday, tops its earlier bids of C$62.50 and C$70, both rejected by Inmet's board.

The now-hostile offer sent shares of Toronto-based Inmet up more than 5 percent on Monday to as high as C$74 as investors bet that Vancouver-based First Quantum would sweeten its offer once again.   Continued...