Canada's Barrick Gold announced Monday that it had been in merger talks with its American rival Newmont to create the world's largest gold miner, but that those have now failed.
"Although Barrick believes the interests of shareholders are best served through the completion of this business combination, Newmont's board has determined that the interests of Newmont's shareholders are best served by remaining independent," said a brief statement.
Several media had cited unnamed sources saying last week a multi-billion dollar takeover was in the works to merge the two companies' complementary Nevada operations and spin off other assets, including in Australia and New Zealand.
It was not the first time the two gold mining companies had flirted with the idea of a tie-up.
Outgoing Barrick chairman Peter Munk in an interview with the Financial Post blamed major cultural differences between Barrick and Newmont for their failure to come together.
He described Barrick as an aggressive risk taker, while Newmont is more conservative, "extremely bureaucratic and not shareholder-friendly."
Newmont, meanwhile, released a letter critical of Munk, saying he stood in the way of a "constructive, mutually respectful and partnership-oriented relationship necessary to realize the potential benefits" of a merger.
"While our team has found your management team's engagement to be constructive and professional, the same constructive nature cannot be said of our discussions with your co-chairman (Munk) on certain fundamental strategic and structural issues over the past two weeks," Newmont chairman Vincent Calarco wrote.
Calarco said Newmont's efforts to find consensus were "rejected out of hand repeatedly," and he decried Munk's pointed characterization of the company in the financial press.
"None of this suggests that we have the mutual respect or shared values today that we believe are necessary for the enterprise that would result from the combination of our companies to realize its full potential," he said