Newmont Mining will buy rival Goldcorp in a deal valued at $10 billion, creating the world’s largest gold miner and cementing a return of M&A to the industry.
The transaction comes just three months after Barrick Gold’s move to buy Randgold Resources in a $5.4 billion transaction, which instantly spurred speculation that rivals would have to respond.
The two huge gold deals have the potential to spark investor interest after the industry lost favor following years of lackluster bullion prices, bad investments and disastrous deals. Just two weeks ago, Mark Bristow, the new chief executive officer of Barrick, said the industry is heading for irrelevance unless there are major changes.
Goldcorp shares surged in U.S. pre-market trading, climbing 11% to $10.71 as of 7:29 a.m. in New York. Newmont shares slipped 4.5%.
Newmont and Goldcorp were “clearly not willing to sit back and let Barrick take the limelight,” said Kieron Hodgson, a natural resources analyst at Panmure Gordon in London.
Gold mining companies are turning to M&A as a way to kickstart growth and secure mine reserves after a decade of cutting back on exploration spending, according to Adrian Hammond, who covers African gold companies for SBG Securities. Investors have punished the industry in recent years and Newmont shares are about half the value from a peak in 2011.
“Companies are struggling to compete for lower costs whilst trying to replenish their reserve base, so acquiring assets has become the easier alternative,” Hammond said in an interview from Johannesburg.
Newmont will pay 0.3280 of its own shares for each Goldcorp share, a premium of 17% to the weighted average share price from the last 20 days. Newmont also plans to pay two cents for each Goldcorp share.
The deal will create a company that runs mines in the Americas, Australia, and Ghana and exceeds Barrick-Randgold in scale, producing about 7.9 million ounces of gold a year. It also rivals Barrick’s purchase of Placer Dome as the gold-industry’s biggest takeover. That deal had a final value of about $9.9 billion when it closed in 2006, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Newmont and Goldcorp said they will sell up to $1.5 billion in assets over the next two years, echoing a similar Barrick pledge to concentrate on the best-performing mines. Newmont also promised initial cost savings from the merger of $100 million a year.
The promise of unloading assets, something Barrick is also expected to do, will have repercussions for the industry as a host of mines are likely to be put up for sale. Additionally, the two big deals will add pressure to other gold miners such as Kinross Gold and AngloGold Ashanti, which have missed out on the sudden deal rush.
“I can see a new wave of mid-tier producers being spawned from assets deemed sub-economic by the two ‘giants,’” said Hodgson.
Goldberg, who has lead Newmont since 2013, will remain CEO until the deal and integration of the two companies is complete—likely in the fourth quarter—after which he will hand over to Chief Operating Officer Tom Palmer.