March 4, 2020 / 8:25 AM / 3 months ago

Sirius shares jump 17% as shareholders back Anglo bid

FILE PHOTO: An employee holds a sample of polyhalite taken from the Sirius Minerals test drilling station on the North Yorkshire Moors near Whitby, northern England July 5, 2013. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis

(Reuters) - Shares in Sirius Minerals (SXX.L) gained 17% on Wednesday after its shareholders voted in favour of Anglo American’s (AAL.L) 405 million pound ($518.04 million) bid to buy the fertilizer maker, prevailing over an activist investor who called the deal terms too low.

Britain’s biggest mining project in North Yorkshire is Sirius’ main asset and the Anglo deal is expected to save hundreds of jobs in economically disadvantaged northern England, where the government has been working to create jobs.

Shareholders have backed the deal despite opposition from activist investor Odey Asset Management, which said the offer was too low and seemed “to make a mockery of both internal and external audits at Sirius”.

The hedge fund, which holds a 1.46% stake in Sirius according to Refinitiv Eikon data, declined to comment on Wednesday.

The company’s talks with a consortium of financial investors on an alternate debt financing proposal to raise $680 million fell through last month, putting it at the risk of going under administration or liquidation.

Of votes cast, 80% were in favour of the resolution backing the deal, sending Sirius’ shares up 17.2% at 5.48 pence, just shy of Anglo’s offer of 5.5 pence per share, and a far cry from its share price of around 40 pence in August 2016.

The acquisition will allow Anglo expand into fertilisers, nearly four years after it sold its last fertiliser project in Brazil.

Shares in Anglo American were up 2.6% at 1,952.8 pence at 0909 GMT.

Reporting by Muvija M and Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr and Vinay Dwivedi

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