VANCOUVER – After repeatedly saying it wouldn’t, on Tuesday, Aug. 15, TECK COMINCO upped its bid for control of Toronto-based INCO LTD. to Cdn$89.00 in cash and shares, or a total of $17.8 billion. Teck Cominco said this was its “best and final” offer for Inco. If at least 66.67% of the Inco shares were tendered by Aug. 20, Teck Cominco planned to arrange an equity offering worth $5.725 billion to help pay for the acquisition.
Less than a day later, the foregoing suddenly became ancient history. On Wednesday, Aug. 16, Teck Cominco withdrew its higher offer. Instead, the company intended to let its original offer expire at midnight Aug. 16, 2006. Teck Cominco said tersely in a press release that it could not complete the proposed equity offering “on terms that made sense” for the company.
For now it appears Teck Cominco has dropped out of the bidding for Inco.
Inco management is left with two offers to consider. First, that of its partner-of-choice PHELPS DODGE. And second, the $16.7-billion offer from COMPANHIA VALE DO RIO DOCE (CVRD). Little has been heard from Phelps Dodge since the end of July, and speculation has it that the American company is not so interested in Inco after all.