March 23, 2023

DealBook: Coal Magnate Offers $5.4 Billion for Whitehaven Coal

An Australian coal tycoon is leading a $5.4 billion bid for Whitehaven Coal, at a time when falling coal prices have weighed on profits in the industry.

Nathan Tinkler, a 36-year-old Australian billionaire, is leading a group that has offered to take Whitehaven private for 5.20 Australian dollars ($5.29) a share. The bid is a 51 percent premium above Friday’s closing price, the coal mining company said in a statement on Friday.

The bidding group said it had received support from roughly 48.3 percent of Whitehaven’s shares, according to the company. Mr. Tinkler controls more than 20 percent of the company.

The offer comes a month after Mr. Tinkler initially approached the company. At the time, Whitehaven said it could not consider his bid because it was incomplete. Shares of Whitehaven have fallen 17 percent since that announcement.

This time around, Mr. Tinkler has lined up financing from JPMorgan Chase, Barclays and UBS for the offer, Whitehaven said.

In December, Whitehaven agreed to buy Aston Resources, a coal company whose chairman was Mr. Tinkler, in all-stock deal worth about $2.8 billion. Whitehaven at that time also said it would buy a company partly owned by Mr. Tinkler, Boardwalk Resources.

On Friday, Whitehaven said Mr. Tinkler’s group had been given four weeks to conduct due diligence exclusively.

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