It's challenging trying to keep up with events at the world's biggest diversified miner, Australia-based BHP Billiton
As you've likely noted, BHP is soaking up attention with its long-standing iron ore joint venture plans with Rio Tinto
That effort follows a lengthy courtship wherein BHP tried to acquire its rival, only to skedaddle when commodity prices plummeted. Now the iron ore joint venture still has to garner regulatory approval from about a half-dozen entities, including Australia, the European Union, and Japan.
While talk of dismantling the venture plans frankly is growing, as recently as this weekend a Rio Tinto executive reiterated those plans remain alive. As Sam Walsh, head of the firms iron-ore operations, noted: The venture would likely result in synergies of about $10 billion for the pair, and so discarding it wouldn't come easily. But if a formal deal were to be scuttled, the companies likely could work together in a variety of ways -- such as transporting Rio's ore on BHP's rail lines or reducing the number of iron ore blends produced by the pair -- and still salvage lots of the expected deal's synergies.
There appears to be more hope for BHP's $130 per share effort to acquire Potash Corp. Last week, a report commissioned by the province of Saskatchewan said a BHP purchase of the company could, despite a potential revenue reduction, benefit the province. Conversely, the report expressed far more concern about a talked-about rival bid from China's state-owned chemical company, Sinochem.
It's hard for me to see how BHP can come out a loser from its active pace. Sure, it might have to up the ante for Potash Corp. somewhat, but I'll be surprised -- even with Potash reportedly preparing break-up plans to thwart its suitor -- if the acquisition ultimately is unsuccessful.
Even if Potash Corp. is able to wriggle free from BHP, I've long looked at Freeport-McMoRan
So, the last question involves why Fools wouldn't be well-advised by the suggestion to liberally sprinkle shares of BHP into their portfolios.
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