The Financial Times reports that the oil and natural gas rich nation of Qatar has plans to up its stake in Xstrata, currently negotiating a $90 billion merger with Glencore International, to over 10%, which would make the country’s sovereign wealth fund the diversified miner’s second largest shareholder.
Swiss commodities giant Glencore already owns 34% of Xstrata. Glencore is offering 2.8 shares for every one of Xstrata, but aside from second largest shareholder BlackRock, other institutional investors have threatened to block the deal.
The Qatari fund has been responsible for almost 40% of all the trade in Xstrata since February and has built up an 8% stake. London-listed Xstrata is worth over $52 billion.
Qatari support should provide Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg the necessary backing he needs to push through the deal. Glasenberg and Xstrata CEO Mick Davis have embarked on a roadshow to sell the deal over the summer.
The FT reports 75% of shareholders must vote in favour of the deal with Glencore prevented from voting:
People familiar with the matter said that Qatar Holding, the investment arm of the Qatar Investment Authority, first met Ivan Glasenberg, Glencore’s chief executive, in late 2010 to discuss an investment but the two sides failed to reach agreement.
Instead, the people added, Qatar Holding decided to replicate a strategy it had used in the past, buying a stake in Xstrata – of which Glencore owns 34 per cent. This offered a way to gain exposure to the mining sector and the prospect of a holding in Glencore when, as expected, the two agreed to combine.
Qatar is expected to continue building its stake to 10 per cent and could go higher, the people said.