Deal In Hand, Mittal, Arcelor Look To Shareholders

Mittal Steel and Arcelor on June 26 began a campaign to convince shareholders to back their dramatic weekend deal creating the world's biggest steel company but leaving the Russians in the cold. Arcelor's acceptance of Mittal's 27-billion-euro (US$34-billio) partnership offer on June 25 ended a five-month battle between the steel titans. The entrenched Arcelor defence had pushed Mittal's initial bid up by about 40%.

The deal, which sent Arcelor's share price soaring on June 26, would create a steelmaker three times bigger than its nearest rival. But it also ended a rival bid by Russian company Severstal, a bitter disappointment that led Moscow to cry foul and highlighted the country's feeling of frustration and even humiliation on the world economic stage.

Sources said the price offered by Mittal per share in a mix of cash and shares was 40.4 euros, more than 40% higher than Mittal's original offer launched in January. Arcelor shareholders would thus profit handsomely from the deal. But the agreement cannot be implemented until they formally vote to accept it.

The new group, would be owned 50.6% by Arcelor shareholders and 49.% by those of Mittal, of which 4% would be controlled by the Mittal family.The merged company wold be listed on the New York, Paris, Madrid, Amsterdam, Brussels and Luxembourg stock exchanges.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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