* Inmet says shareholder rights plan no longer needed
* First Quantum’s hostile $72/shr bid to expire on Feb 27
* Inmet may execute strategic alternatives before deadline
* Inmet shares drop 99 Canadian cents to C$69.48
TORONTO, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Inmet Mining Corp said on Tuesday it would waive its so-called poison pill takeover defense against a hostile offer by First Quantum Minerals Ltd and hinted it may execute strategic alternatives to the C$5.1 billion ($5.05 billion) bid.
Earlier this month, mining and metals firm First Quantum extended its C$72-a-share bid to Feb. 27, 2013 for rival Inmet. The offer, announced in mid-December, tops its earlier bids of C$62.50 and C$70 a share.
Toronto-based Inmet has rejected the move by its Vancouver-based competitor to combine forces to create one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing copper producers.
Inmet, whose shares dropped 99 Canadian cents to C$69.48 on Tuesday morning, said the new deadline has given it enough time to fully review the offer and potentially execute strategic alternatives.
Inmet previously said it was in talks with a number of interested parties as an alternative to the First Quantum bid. The company did not name the third parties.
The company said on Tuesday its shareholder rights plan, which was to take effect hours before First Quantum’s bid expired, is no longer needed.
At stake is the massive $6.2 billion Cobre Panama project in Central America, which is one of the largest untapped copper deposits in the world. Inmet owns 80 percent of the development, with the remaining 20 percent held by a South Korean consortium.
Inmet said it would provide shareholders with details of its strategic alternatives “as appropriate”, prior to the expiry of the First Quantum offer.