(Adds details from interview)
By Ernest Scheyder
HOLLYWOOD, Fla, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Barrick Gold Corp’s $18 billion hostile bid for rival Newmont Mining Corp is a “logical” tie-up that would generate value for shareholders of both companies and create an unrivaled global producer of the yellow metal, Chief Executive Officer Mark Bristow said in an interview on Monday.
Barrick, already the world’s largest gold producer, on Monday launched a takeover bid for its U.S.-based rival, encouraging it to ditch a previously announced $10 billion takeover of Goldcorp Inc.
“This gold industry needs to become more relevant to investors,” Bristow said on the sidelines of the BMO Global Metals & Mining Conference in Florida. “This deal drives a further rationalization in our industry.”
The deal comes less than two months after Barrick closed on its buyout of rival Randgold Resources, and represents an aggressive move by Bristow, considered one of the shrewdest minds in the gold industry, to consolidate as quickly as possible.
While Bristow moved fast to reorganize Barrick since taking the helm last month, Newmont CEO Gary Goldberg has said he will retire at the end of 2019 after, he hopes, the Goldcorp deal closes.
Goldberg’s departure has not gone unnoticed by Bristow, who has fashioned it into his own pitch to shareholders.
“By the way: Newmont’s management’s leaving and we’re not,” Bristow said.
Investors across the industry are “definitely not pleased” with Newmont’s Goldcorp bid and view it as a kind of “value destruction,” Bristow said.
“We’re pointing out that this current (Newmont-Goldcorp) proposal takes away the opportunity for both sets of shareholders to participate in one of the few logical M&A transactions available to the industry,” said Bristow.
“The (Newmont) merger with Goldcorp adds no Tier One assets to their portfolio,” he said.
Bristow said he has talked to his shareholders and those at Newmont in “general” terms about his hostile bid, but not specifically. He said he has no concerns about ultimately receiving their approval.
Newmont has suggested that instead of an outright sale, the two companies could combine Nevada operations in a joint venture. Newmont has 19 mines in the state, adjacent to Barrick’s own operations.
Bristow rejected the idea, saying it would not bring the same cost savings as combining the two companies.
“You won’t unlock the full value in a JV,” he said. “We genuinely feel that we have the capacity to unlock this value once and for all.” (Reporting by Ernest Scheyder; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)