DE BEERS LATEST OFFER WORTH MORE THAN $18B

LONDON — De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd., is getting more expensive.
The consortium bidding for the diamond mining company Thursday announced plans to raise its offer after indications its original bid would be rejected by shareholders. The new offer is worth more than $18 billion.
As reported, a consortium led by Anglo American, Central Holdings Ltd. and Debswana Diamond is seeking to take De Beers private and to unwind the cross-shareholdings among the different companies.
The consortium said in mid-February that it planned to offer $17.6 billion for the diamond mining business of De Beers, as well as its cross-shareholding in Anglo American. But minority shareholders in De Beers objected to the terms and indicated they would vote against the deal. The offer would be rejected if only 15 percent of shareholders voted against it.
To head off the revolt, the consortium said Thursday it would raise the cash element of its offer by $2 a De Beers share. The group said further details would be provided soon, but stressed the higher bid is final. It values De Beers and its Anglo American shareholding at more than $18 billion and would give Anglo American and Central Holdings each a 45 percent stake in De Beers. The remainder would be held by Debswana. Anglo American and Central Holdings are both controlled by the Oppenheimer family of South Africa.
LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton is in the process of forming a joint venture with De Beers to create a global jewelry brand with finished product and retail outlets.

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