7:36 AM ET - Dow Jones News
DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
Yamana Gold Inc. (AUY) boosted the cash portion of its hostile-takeover bid for Meridian Gold Inc. (MDG) by 27%, two weeks after Meridian rejected the prior C$3.35 billion offer.
The company now if offering C$4 ($3.80) and 2.235 Yamana shares per Meridian share. That values each Meridian share at $28.34, a 3.3% premium to Monday's closing price and 26% above Meridian's price when Yamana first proposed a three-way merger with Northern Orion Resources Inc. (NTO) in June.
Toronto-based Yamana said the cash portion of the bid now will be solely funded by a $400 million, five-year credit facility. The company previously relied on money from Vancouver-based Northern Orion, which Yamana has agreed to buy for about $1 billion, to fund the cash portion of the offer.
Yamana Chairman and Chief Executive Peter Marrone said, "We have listened to shareholders and, equally, we have made it clear that we would be prudent and disciplined. This is a full, fair and final price."
Reno, Nev.-based Meridian's board rejected the earlier Yamana bid two weeks ago, with President and Chief Executive Ed Dowling saying the offer was "not even worth considering."
Yamana said it's willing to continue to pursue Meridian even without reviewing the company's books. Yamana "believes the benefits of certainty with proceeding on an unconditional basis outweigh the need for due diligence."
The three-way deal is structured so that the Northern Orion acquisition is contingent on Yamana acquiring a two-thirds stake in Meridian. The deadline for Meridian holders to tender their shares has been extended to Sept. 7.
A Yamana conference call is set for 11 a.m. EDT. Meridian shares rose in premarket trading to $27.63 from Monday's closing price of $27.44. Yamana closed at $10.98, and the stock was inactive in the premarket.
-Kevin Kingsbury; Dow Jones Newswires; 201-938-5963
> Dow Jones Newswires
Copyright (c) 2007 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.