The battleground over the £50bn mining megamerger of Xstrata and Glencore is expected to move from the City to Europe tomorrow.
The Xstrata board is almost certain to recommend that shareholders vote in favour of the deal, which will see Glencore boss Ivan Glasenberg head a coal-mining-to-wheat trading empire. Once agreed – and there are still last-minute decisions to be made over lucrative retention payments for top managers which have angered some investors – Glencore will file its antitrust notification with the EU.
It is thought the merger will not be challenged, but the EU could take a closer look at the combined group's presence in the zinc market, in which it will be the world leader.
Xstrata has until 7am tomorrow to agree to Glencore's terms, having already been granted a one-week extension to the Takeover Panel's deadline. Should all go to plan, Mr Glasenberg's long-held ambition to reunite the companies – Xstrata was spun out of Glencore a decade ago – will finally have been fulfilled.
However, the deal comes at the expense of the Xstrata chief executive, Mick Davis. He will lead the integration of the two companies over the first six months, after which he will leave to allow Mr Glasenberg to take over.
This is also the last full week of negotiations for the other major deal of the year, the proposed £30bn combination of British defence giant BAE and Airbus-owner EADS. The German and French governments are looking to have similar rights over the new entity as they hold with EADS, which includes effective control over governance.
However, the rationale of the deal for EADS boss Tom Enders is to rid the company of state interference.