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Friday, November 4, 2011

Anglo American Buys 40% Stake in De Beers Group for $5.1 Billion

The Oppenheimer family, which has owned the the De Beers Group  for more than 80 years, announced Friday that it will sell its remaining stake in the company to Anglo American plc for $5.1 billion in cash.

The move will boost Anglo American’s current 45 percent stake in De Beers to 85 percent. Nicky Oppenheimer will remain as chairman of De Beers and the recently hired CEO, Philippe Mellier, will remain in his position, the London-based mining company said.

Anglo American has entered into an agreement with CHL and Centhold International Limited (“CIL”), together representing the Oppenheimer family interests, to acquire their 40 percent interest in DB Investments and De Beers SA, the two companies said in a joint statement.

Under the terms of the existing shareholders’ agreement between Anglo American, CHL and the Government of the Republic of Botswana, the GRB has pre-emption rights in respect of the CHL Group’s interest in De Beers, enabling it to participate in the transaction and to increase its interest in De Beers, on a pro rata basis, to up to 25 percent. In the event that the GRB exercises its preemption rights in full, Anglo American, under the proposed transaction, would acquire an incremental 30 percent interest in De Beers, taking its total interest to 75 percent, and the consideration payable by Anglo American to the CHL Group would be reduced proportionately.

Anglo American had been the largest shareholder in De Beers since it became a private company in 2001 and as a longstanding shareholder in De Beers prior to that.

“De Beers’ geographically diverse portfolio comprises large scale, low cost mining assets with proven distribution, sales and marketing capabilities and further potential from its leading pipeline of greenfield and brownfield projects and an expanding consumer-facing footprint,” Anglo American said in the statement.

“Today’s announcement marks our commitment to an industry with highly attractive long term supply and demand fundamentals,” Cynthia Carroll, chief executive of Anglo American, said in the statement. “Underpinned by the security of supply offered by a new 10-year sales agreement with our partner, the Government of the Republic of Botswana, this forms a compelling proposition.… I believe that the benefits brought by Anglo American’s scale, technical, operational and exploration expertise and financial resources, combined with the unquestionable leadership of De Beers’ business and iconic brand will enable De Beers to enhance its position across the diamond pipeline and capture the potential presented by a rapidly evolving diamond market.”

Nicky Oppenheimer, De Beers chairman representing the Oppenheimer family interests, said: “This has been a momentous and difficult decision as my family has been in the diamond industry for more than 100 years and part of De Beers for over 80 years. After careful and deliberate consideration of the offer, and what is in the best interests of the family, we unanimously agreed to accept Anglo American’s offer. Anglo American is the natural home for our stake as they have been major shareholders in De Beers since 1926 and have a deep knowledge of the diamond business.”

The Minister of Minerals, Energy, and Water Resources, Dr. Ponatshego H Kedikilwe, on behalf of the Republic of Botswana said: “The diamond industry is a major contributor to our economy in Botswana. We are grateful to the Oppenheimer family for their vision and contribution to the diamond industry and to Botswana and we will proudly take forward that legacy with Anglo American. We look forward to building on the excellent relationship we have with Anglo American, both through our ownership of De Beers and through the Debswana joint venture.”

The transaction is expected to be accretive to underlying earnings before depreciation and amortization on fair value adjustments in the year of acquisition, Anglo American said.

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