Turquoise Hill shareholders approve Rio Tinto’s $3.3 bln buyout bid


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Shareholders of Canada’s Turquoise Hill on Friday voted in favor of Rio Tinto’s $3.3 billion bid to take it private and gain direct control over a giant Mongolian copper mine.

Turquoise Hill said 86.6% voted to approve Rio Tinto acquiring 49% of shares that it does not already own, giving the Anglo-Australian miner a 66% stake in Oyu Tolgoi, the world’s largest known copper and gold deposit.

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The vote clears the way for Rio Tinto to gain more autonomy over Oyu Tolgoi, which is 66% owned by Turquoise Hill and 34% by the Mongolian government, and operated by Rio.

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However, the take-private process has not been straightforward.

Friday’s shareholder meeting was repeatedly delayed due to opposition of key minority shareholders of Turquoise Hill, including funds Pentwater Capital and SailingStone Capital.

Rio Tinto had agreed to let the two dissenting parties withhold their votes and make claims via an arbitration process, a deal that was subsequently scrapped as it raised regulatory concerns.

Rio Tinto and Mongolia also settled a long-running dispute in January over the mine’s economic benefits, in an accord that waived $2.4 billion of debt owed by the country’s government.

The mining giant still faces a U.S. investor lawsuit led by Pentwater accusing it of concealing that it was falling up to 2-1/2 years behind schedule for the Oyu Tolgoi mine and coming in as much as $1.9 billion over budget.

Turquoise Hill said on Friday it expects the deal to be completed by or shortly after Dec. 16. (Reporting by Clara Denina and Mrinalika Roy; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Shounak Dasgupta)


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