Freeport-McMoRan to buy Plains, McMoRan Exp. for $9 billion


Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc said on Wednesday it would acquire Plains Exploration & Production Co and McMoRan Exploration Co in two separate deals for $9 billion in cash and stock.

The combination would create a company with gold, oil and natural gas assets around the world. Freeport said the new entity, on a pro forma basis, would generate almost three-quarters of its 2013 operating earnings from mining and the rest from oil and gas.

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Freeport said it would buy Plains for $6.9 billion in cash and stock. It would buy McMoRan Exploration for $2.1 billion cash after taking into account the stake in McMoRan that Freeport already owns.

The deal would help Freeport diversify, with its mining profile largely outside the United States and Plains and McMoRan concentrated in energy plays in California, Texas and the Gulf of Mexico.

(Reporting By Ben Berkowitz; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)