Sometimes big bodies move slowly. It's been six months to the day since we first talked about a potential "mother of all mergers." That momentous event may just now be becoming more likely.
The primary players would be the huge Melbourne-based mining and resources company BHP Billiton
Since the possibility of Billiton taking a run at Rio Tinto back in May, the potential target company has undertaken and completed the $37 billion purchase of Canada's big aluminum producer, Alcan. That combination followed an effort by U.S. aluminum producer Alcoa
More recent rumors have had Billiton joining with Brazil's big Companhia Vale do Rio Doce
And while Rio Tinto's honchos have reportedly spurned the offer, I wouldn't rule out its eventual occurrence. Such a combination would seem to bring with it a couple of results:
First, the bigger, combined company would appear better able to help stabilize some resource commodities prices. The cost of a number of those commodities -- copper is a fine example -- has been escalating because of both increasing worldwide demand and frequent transport bottlenecks. A bigger company would be better able to deal with the latter through its sheer scope and more effective planning ability.
And second, a deal of this sort would likely lead to more mining combinations. Companies like Alcoa or U.S. copper, gold, and molybdenum producer Freeport McMoRan
So in the final analysis, it seems that the latest proposed merger would be a plus for world business and could benefit economic stability. On those bases alone, I'm forced to belt out a hearty, "Bring it on!"
To mine a little related Foolishness: