More sniping from Anglo and Xstrata

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The Independent Online

Anglo American and its rejected suitor Xstrata had another tiff yesterday, ending with Takeover Panel forcing Xstrata to confirm its view on the synergies of its proposed tie-up. Sources close to Anglo said the request was a rap on Xstrata's knuckles for allowing its advisers to talk up the deal. Sources close to Xstrata said Anglo had asked the Panel to make the request.

Relations between the two miners are strained at best after Xstrata's plan for an all-share merger was summarily rejected as "unattractive" and "unacceptable". Xstrata is miffed that Anglo will not even meet to discuss the possibility of a deal. But Anglo views the deal as a non-starter on both strategic and financial grounds. It says Xstrata has a lower quality portfolio of less attractive assets in less attractive markets, and that it is not in the interest of its shareholders.

Yesterday's clarification from Xstrata was nothing more than a re-statement of the "more than $1bn (£607m) per annum by the third full year" included in its original letter to Anglo, published last week. But speculation - including Xstrata advisers quoted as expecting up to three times that level - prompted the Takeover Panel's request for clarification.

Xstrata is yet to give any indication of what it plans to do next. Its chief executive Mick Davis's speech at a Melbourne Mining Club dinner in London on Tuesday night was watched closely for clues. But he gave little away, including both gneral statements on all-share deals not being possible "if the other party doesn't want to play with you", and references to the string of hostile takeover bids he has made in the past.

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