BHP Billiton says offer for Rio Tinto fair value


SYDNEY — The world’s largest miner BHP Billiton on Wednesday said it would continue to seek takeover talks with Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto but declined to increase its existing bid.

BHP Billiton said the bid it tabled last month offering three of its shares for one Rio Tinto stock represented “compelling value” for shareholders in the target company. Rio Tinto has rejected the offer, which values it at more than US$130 billion, and on Tuesday revealed it had asked British regulators to set a deadline forcing its suitor to make a formal bid or back off for six months. Analysts had predicted BHP Billiton would respond to Rio Tinto’s “put-up-or-shut up” demand with an increased offer but the company instead repeated its assertion that the existing bid was fair.

It said BHP Billiton had stronger growth prospects than Rio Tinto, and its three-for-one offer would give its target 41 percent of the combined entity.