Canadian copper producer First Quantum Minerals launched Wednesday a Can$5.1 billion ($5.16 billion) hostile takeover bid for fellow mineral company Inmet.
First Quantum took its offer directly to stockholders, offering them the equivalent of Can$72 ($72.90) per share in cash or stock or a mix of the two, according to a statement from the company.
It had initially offered Inmet's management Can$62.50 per share, revising that to Can$70, without succeeding in convincing the company to sell, with management saying they felt the price was undervalued.
At the Toronto stock exchange, Inmnet closed Tuesday with share prices of Can$72.25, slightly above the price First Quantum is offering.
First Quantum chief Philip Pascall said in the statement the the two Canadian companies, each focused on exploiting the red metal, were complementary.
Their fusion would give birth to "a new global leader in copper," he said.
Inmet exploits three copper mines in Spain, Turkey and Finland. But it's the company's stake in a giant deposit under development in Panama that arouses envy.
In its statement, First Quantum emphasized it had proven in the past its capacity to carry out -- within budget and on schedule -- development of new mining sites.
Inmet had planned last year to merge with another Canadian copper producer, Lundin Mining, but the deal fell apart.
The First Quantum offer runs through February 14. However, it reserves the right not to follow through if it does not receive 66.67 percent of Inmet shares, on a fully diluted basis.
Last year, First Quantum produced more than 300,000 tons of copper, 36,000 tons of nickel, and 200,000 ounces of gold. Its market value is on the order of $10.5 billion.