Sibanye Said to Have Weighed Impala Deal Before Shares Rose

  • Sibanye looked at ‘a number’ of platinum targets: spokesman
  • Both stocks moved in opposite directions in recent months

Sibanye Gold Ltd. considered a combination with Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. this year and later decided a deal would be too expensive to pursue, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Impala was one of many companies that Sibanye analyzed as part of a strategy to expand mining assets in South Africa, said the people, who asked to not be identified because information is private. The companies’ shares have moved in opposite directions in recent months, making any stock-based deal pricier. Still, Sibanye is open to revisiting the deal if conditions improve in the future, two of the people said.

Since the beginning of June, Impala shares surged 45 percent, while Sibanye dropped 14 percent. Impala, the world’s second-biggest miner of platinum, now has a 48 billion rand ($3.4 billion) market value, making it bigger than Sibanye.

Sibanye shares rose as much as 4.3 percent in Johannesburg trading, gaining 3.2 percent to 39.66 rand at 11:55 a.m. Impala was up 3.6 percent to 63.52 rand after earlier jumping as much as 7.7 percent.

“We’ve looked at a number of different platinum opportunities across the board,” said James Wellsted, a spokesman for Sibanye, declining to name specific targets. “It’s a function not only of price, but of combining a willing buyer and willing seller.” Impala spokesman Johan Theron declined to comment.

Sibanye, led by Chief Executive Officer Neal Froneman, is keen to expand the company’s platinum assets after buying Aquarius Platinum Ltd. and three mines from Anglo American Platinum Ltd. The newly acquired mines, as well as Impala’s largest operations, are near Rustenburg, northwest of Johannesburg.

When Sibanye shares topped 50 rand at the end of February, Froneman said he intended to use the company’s valuation to buy gold and platinum assets. Acquisition opportunities are less obvious than earlier in the year, the company said in August, adding that it would continue to evaluate possibilities.

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