The prime minister of Qatar yesterday added his voice to the chorus of shareholder opposition to the proposed £57bn mega-merger between Xstrata and Glencore, calling for a higher price to be paid.
Just a few hours after Xstrata confirmed it would postpone next Thursday's shareholder vote on the merger, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani said he was in favour of the deal in principle but the price was far too low.
The Qatari sovereign wealth fund, which owns nearly 11 per cent of Xstrata's shares, came out against the deal last week on the grounds it undervalued the mining giant. Glencore is offering 2.8 of its shares for each of Xstrata's, but Qatar thinks it should be paying 3.25.
"Our position is firm. We look after Xstrata and all the shareholders of Xstrata, and we think it's good to merge the two companies. It will be positive for both sides, but at the right price," he said. This was the first time the prime minister has spoken about the deal.