A new potential white knight for Potash (NYSE:POT) emerged on Tuesday as Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto (NYSE:RTP) is reportedly mulling a joint bid for the fertilizer maker with a Chinese player.
According to Toronto’s The Globe and Mail, Rio Tinto is said to be considering a bid to rival BHP Billiton’s (NYSE:BHP) $130-a-share hostile takeover offer, which Potash already rejected. Rio Tinto’s bid would reportedly include a partner, perhaps China’s Sinochem Group or China National Offshore Oil.
At the same time, Brazil’s Vale (NYSE:VALE) discussed a potential bid with Potash last week, but appears to have walked away, and Mosaic (NYSE:MOS), Agrium (NYSE:AGU), Monsanto (NYSE:MON) and Cargill may also be contemplating an offer, the paper reported.
The news comes a day after The Wall Street Journal reported China’s Hopu Investment Management is leading a group that includes U.S., Asian and Canadian investors that is studying the feasibility of a bid for Potash.
Potash formally rejected BHP’s $39 billion hostile takeover bid on Monday and acknowledged it has engaged in talks with potential white knights. In fact, Potash said it expects a superior bid to emerge and called the BHP bid “wholly inadequate” due in part to its premium of “only” 16%.
Shares of Potash, which is based in Saskatchewan, had a muted reaction to the news, falling 0.54% to $149.36 Tuesday morning amid a global stock market selloff. The stock has surged in the wake of the BHP bid, gaining more than 50% over the past four weeks alone.
On the other hand, Rio Tinto’s stock took a hit on the report, dropping 3.91% to $48.85. The stock was also likely hurt by fears of a double-dip recession.