Barrick Gold has agreed to buy Randgold Resources in a deal that will create the largest gold mining company in the world. Canadian based Barrick Gold will purchase Randgold for $6 billion. The combined entity will have a market value of more than $18 billion. Barrick shareholders will end up owning about 67 percent of the new company that will manage five of the world’s top 10 gold mines.
The Financial Times reported that the deal also bring together two of the biggest personalities in gold mining: John Thornton, the former president of Goldman Sachs who has run Barrick since 2014, and Mark Bristow, a South African who founded Randgold in 1995.
The deal comes at a time when the gold mining sector is struggling. In the past year, Barrick’s production has fallen from more than 227 t (8 million oz) a decade ago to 150 t (5.3 million ouces) today. While the price of gold has fallen 9 per cent this year to $1,200/oz, weighed down by a strong US dollar, the two companies have fared worse. Shares in Barrick have dropped 25 percent this year, while Randgold has fallen 30 percent as it has struggled with a number of issues, including a strike at one of its biggest mines and the prospect of a tough new mining code in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The new company is expected to will produce 184 t/a (6.5 million ozpy) of gold, eclipsing its nearest competitor, U.S.-listed Newmont Mining.
“Our industry has been criticized for its short-term focus, undisciplined growth and poor returns on invested capital,” said Bristow. “The merged company will be very different. Its goal will be to deliver sector leading returns, and in order to achieve this, we will need to take a very critical view of our asset base and how we run our business, and be prepared to make tough decisions.”
The enlarged company will control some of the world’s biggest and most profitable gold mines, including Barrick’s Cortez and Goldstrike operations in Nevada and Randgold’s Kabli Mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Loulo-Gounkoto Mine in Mali.
Barrick and Randgold have been discussing a possible combination for the past three years, but the talks intensified in the last nine months with the two executives spending 30 days together thinking through issues and problems.
“There are no premiums in the merger because we strongly believe in the opportunity to add significant value for our shareholders from the disciplined management of our combined asset base and a focus on truly profitable growth,” Thornton said.