First Quantum takes C$5.1 bln bid to Inmet shareholders
* First Quantum sends $72-per-share offer to shareholders
* Company says deal to create "new global leader in copper"
* Shares of Inmet up 0.79 percent at C$72.82 on TSX
* Shares of First Quantum fall 1.3 percent to C$21.26
TORONTO, Jan 9 (Reuters) - First Quantum Minerals Ltd on Wednesday officially launched a hostile takeover bid for smaller rival Inmet Mining Corp, as the Canadian base metal miner looks to transform itself into a top global copper producer.
First Quantum mailed its C$72-a-share offer to Inmet's shareholders, starting the clock on the takeover that values the smaller company at some C$5.1 billion ($5.17 billion).
Inmet's shares climbed 0.79 percent to C$72.82 on Wednesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange, while First Quantum's stock was down 1.3 percent at C$21.26.
If successful, the deal would give First Quantum control of the Cobre Panama copper project in Central America, which is one of the world's largest undeveloped copper deposits.
A combination with Inmet would also create one of the world's largest and fastest-growing copper-focused producers, while easing First Quantum's dependence on Africa and particularly Zambia. Continued...