UPDATE 3-First Quantum moves closer to clinching Inmet takeover
* First Quantum extends hostile bid for Inmet to March 21
* Majority of Inmet shareholders tender shares in favor
* Inmet shares firm on TSX
By Euan Rocha
TORONTO, March 12 (Reuters) - First Quantum Minerals Ltd moved closer to clinching its acquisition of fellow Canadian miner Inmet Mining Corp on Tuesday after a majority of the miner's shareholders tendered shares in favor of First Quantum's $5 billion hostile bid.
First Quantum said a total of 43.2 million Inmet shares, or about 61.5 percent of its outstanding shares, had been tendered in favor of its offer. Vancouver, British Columbia-based First Quantum has now extended the offer to 11:59 p.m. EDT (1559 GMT) on March 21.
The endorsement from Inmet's shareholders takes First Quantum a step closer to buying Inmet and gaining control of Inmet's prized Cobre Panama project. The $6.2 billion project in the Central American country is one of the world's largest undeveloped copper deposits, and winning it would ease First Quantum's dependence on mines in Africa, particularly Zambia.
Toronto-based Inmet has urged its shareholders to reject First Quantum's offer, arguing it is inadequate. The miner has been attempting to sell a minority stake in Cobre Panama to boost its value and put it in a stronger negotiating position.
Barring a curve ball from Inmet, however, analysts believe that First Quantum has all but clinched the deal. Continued...