UPDATE 1-Barrick Gold shares could surge from activist interest-Barron's
Sept 15 (Reuters) - Top global gold miner Barrick Gold , whose shares have declined by nearly half this year, could see its stock rebound if it attracts an activist shareholder who prompts management to quicken its pace in shedding assets, according to a story in Monday's edition of Barron's.
Toronto-based Barrick could be "targeted by many activist funds," the Barron's said.
Barrick's management has pledged to show more capital discipline instead of concentrating on growth, a move that could lure activist shareholders to the company's shares, the newspaper said.
It cited an analysis by Indiana-based investment firm Two Fish Management as saying Barrick could unlock shareholder value by selling or spinning off mining operations outside the Americas, and by putting its Nevada-based mining assets into a master limited partnership vehicle.
Such moves could leave the firm with core mining assets in North and South America that are among "the most attractive in the world," Barron's said.
In an email, Barrick spokesman Andy Lloyd declined to comment on the Barron's story, but said, "We continually evaluate opportunities to advance that objective" of higher shareholder returns.
While Barrick's U.S.-traded shares traded for $17.72 on Friday, Two Fish values them at as much as $44. That valuation could be overly optimistic, Barron's said.
Barrick has already begun selling some of its assets, and Lloyd said it would continue to evaluate other divestitures.
Reuters reported last month that Barrick had agreed to sell three of its high-cost gold mines in Australia for $300 million, the latest move to re-shape its portfolio and focus on lower cost mining operations in the face of falling metals prices, after the company amassed $11.6 billion in net debt.
Since late August when it reached a three-month high of $1,430 an ounce, the price of gold has fallen by nearly 8 percent.
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