June 20, 2018 / 11:53 PM / a year ago

Australia's Atlas Iron backs Rinehart's $287 million Hancock bid

(Reuters) - Atlas Iron AGO.AX on Thursday recommended a A$390 million ($287 million) bid from Australian billionaire Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting after rival suitor Mineral Resources (MIN.AX) pulled out of the race for the small iron ore miner.

A majority of the Atlas Board withdrew support for the Mineral Resources scheme and backed Hancock’s offer, in the absence of a superior proposal, Atlas said in a statement.

Mining infrastructure provider Mineral Resources on Wednesday said it would not be sweetening its A$280 million offer to match Hancock’s bid.

Its withdrawal puts the focus on world No. 4 iron ore miner Fortescue (FMG.AX) which has built up a 19.9 percent stake in Atlas.

Fortescue chief executive Elizabeth Gaines said on Wednesday that the miner would continue to assess its strategic options.

Reporting by Devika Syamnath in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin

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