Xstrata demands more details on revised Glencore merger deal

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The Independent Online

The board of the mining giant Xstrata wants answers as soon as this week from Glencore on the sweeping changes the wheat-to-nickel commodities trader has made to their £55bn megamerger.

The deal, which has been in the offing from almost the moment that Xstrata spun off from Glencore as a collection of coal assets a decade ago, was on the brink of collapse last Thursday night ahead of shareholder votes the following day.

The merger proposal has frightened activists in the developing world who fear that price inflation would be a result of the united companies' dominance in fuel for thermal power stations, zinc, lead and ferrochrome.

Qatar Holding, an arm of the Middle Eastern state's sovereign wealth fund, has built up a 12 per cent stake in Xstrata since the proposal was formally announced in February.

Due to the structure of the voting procedure, this was sufficient for the Qataris to carry through threats to derail the deal unless Glencore boss Ivan Glasenberg vastly improved the all-share offer.

Over Thursday night, the former prime minister Tony Blair helped broker a compromise between the two parties. While improving his offer from 2.8 to 3.05 Glencore shares for every one of Xstrata's, Glasenberg demanded changes in the way the vote was structured and that he would become chief executive.

Under the original offer, Xstrata's chief executive Mick Davis was to take on the lead role in the merged group. Xstrata advisers believe that the deal now risks becoming an aggressive takeover rather than a merger, and without more information the board could oppose it.

A source said: "We need more details than a 150-word statement from Glencore – and soon."

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