The Review Panel ruled a merger proposal between Gloucester Coal, which is subject to a hostile takeover by Noble, and fellow Australian coal producer Whitehaven Coal could go ahead.
Party to Noble’s application are Whitehaven, Gloucester, Australian Securities & Investments Commission and individual members of the Review Panel.
Whitehaven said it was reviewing the application.
Under the Whitehaven-Gloucester merger, Whitehaven shareholders would be offered one Gloucester share for every 2.45 Whitehaven shares they hold.
Noble last week upped its bid for Gloucester by 24% to $A6 a share, or $490 million, in an attempt to prevent the merger.
Gloucester has appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers as an independent expert to assess the merits of the two deals.
Gloucester expects to release the report’s recommendations on May 18, a few days before the May 21 deadline set by the Takeovers Panel, which ordered the merger deal could go ahead if no superior offer was made.
Noble Energy director Will Randall said last week Gloucester’s directors were dragging their heels on making a decision.
“The current delay in confirming that Noble’s $6 offer is a superior proposal is an ominous sign for Gloucester’s shareholders. How much time do the Gloucester directors need to assess whether $6 cash is a superior proposal to $4.83 in scrip in this market?”
But Whitehaven has asserted its offer is superior as it gives Gloucester’s shareholders a chance to take advantage of being part of a larger, diversified miner.
Gloucester was trading mid-morning today at $5.82, while Whitehaven was trading up almost 1% at $2.22.