UPDATE 2-Talison's Chinese suitor gets regulatory nod, shares up

Fri Nov 23, 2012 4:22pm EST
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* China's Tianqi gets Australian approval for 100 pct takeover

* Talison shares close up 2.8 percent at C$6.97 on TSX (Adds analyst's quote)

By Julie Gordon

TORONTO, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Talison Lithium Ltd said on Friday its Chinese suitor, Chengdu Tianqi Industry Group Co, has secured Australian regulatory approval for its proposed takeover of Talison, sending shares of the lithium producer up more than 2 percent.

The nod from Australian regulators comes just two days after rival suitor Rockwood Holdings Inc said it was not interested in a bidding war. Talison adjourned a meeting to vote on Rockwood's offer until Dec. 13.

Perth, Australia-based, Toronto-listed Talison said it was continuing talks with China's Tianqi on its C$7.15-a-share offer, which values the company at C$806 million ($807.57 million).

That offer is 65 Canadian cents higher than U.S.-based chemical producer Rockwood's C$6.50 per share bid, which values Talison at C$724 million and was approved by Australian regulators earlier this week.

Talison's board will now need to determine if the Chinese offer is a "superior proposal" to its friendly deal with Rockwood, taking into account the monetary value of the offer, the likelihood of conditions being attached, and the timing required to complete a deal.

With a far higher bid price and no objections from Australia's Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB), things are looking positive for Tianqi, said Jonathan Lee, an analyst at Byron Capital Markets.   Continued...