Mittal Steel’s Second Run at Rival Arcelor Gaining Steam
Mittal Steel Co. moved a step closer to making the steel industry’s biggest takeover after Arcelor said it would examine an improved offer from its larger rival.
The board of Luxembourg-based Arcelor, which met Saturday, said it would consider the 25.8-billion-euro (about $33-billion) bid, made Friday, once it is approved by regulators.
It also asked to see a business plan proposed by Mittal’s billionaire chairman, Lakshmi Mittal.
Arcelor rejected Mittal’s Jan. 27 initial offer within two days and before being considered by regulators.
“They didn’t say anything negative, which is surprising,” said Michelle Applebaum, an independent analyst based in Highland Park, Ill., who has covered the steel industry for more than two decades.
“They have to take this offer very seriously,” she said.
Arcelor Chief Executive Guy Dolle, 63, has said Arcelor is better as a stand-alone company because it is expanding outside Europe into lower-cost nations including Brazil.
Lakshmi Mittal, 55, wants to create a company that would pour three times more metal than its nearest rival.
Rotterdam, Netherlands-based Mittal last week increased its offer by 34%, adding cash and stock and a pledge to cut the Mittal family’s control over the combined company.
Shares of Arcelor jumped 9% to 34.84 euros after Mittal increased its offer, valuing the company at 22.3 billion euros. Shares of Mittal fell 3.1% to $33.10 in New York, valuing it at $23.6 billion.
“Guy Dolle can now say to his shareholders, ‘Look at what I’ve done for you,’” said Richard Brakenhoff, an analyst at Rabo Securities in Amsterdam.
“It’s in his interest to talk,” Brakenhoff said.