BHP wants more time for Anglo American takeover talks

Mining giant BHP has urged its UK-based rival Anglo American to extend the looming deadline for a final offer on a proposed £39bn merger.

In a statement this morning, the Australian BHP attempted to ease concerns about its plans for Anglo American’s business in South Africa, ahead of elections in the country on Thursday.

It made commitments that included job security for employees there, but said it needed an extension on talks “to allow further engagement” on the plans.

If the deal goes through, it would be one of the biggest ever for the mining sector and would create the world’s largest copper producer.

The pair have been wrangling over the deal since Anglo American rejected BHP’s first takeover approach in April.

This month, Anglo rejected a third offer from BHP and announced plans to break up the business by selling or spinning off major parts of the firm including its De Beers diamond operation and its platinum division, with a view to focusing on key areas such as copper, premium iron ore and crop nutrients.

BHP had until 17:00 on Thursday to seal a deal, request an extension or walk away.

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