Gold Fields ends its pursuit of Yamana after rival Canadian bid

  • Agnico, Pan American trumped Gold Fields bid
  • Gold Fields refused to raise its offer
  • Planned deal continues Agnico's takeover streak

Nov 8 (Reuters) - South Africa's Gold Fields (GFIJ.J) on Tuesday said it has ended its bid to acquire Yamana Gold Inc (YRI.TO) after the Canadian miner backed a $4.8 billion takeover bid from Agnico Eagle (AEM.TO) and Pan American Silver Corp (PAAS.TO).

On May 31, Gold Fields announced a deal to acquire Yamana in an all-share transaction that then valued the Canadian firm at $6.7 billion, a valuation that declined when the suitor's shares slumped after the announcement. By Thursday's close, the Gold Fields offer was worth a little more than $4 billion.

The transaction was heading towards shareholder votes on Nov. 21 and 22. Then Agnico Eagle and Pan American launched a rival bid, which Yamana's board now supports, calling it superior to Gold Fields' offer.

"As a result of Yamana entering into an arrangement agreement with Pan American Silver Corp. and Agnico Eagle Mines Limited and announcing a change in recommendation, Gold Fields has terminated the Arrangement Agreement in respect of the Transaction," Gold Fields said in a statement.

Earlier on Tuesday, Yamana's board said it now unanimously recommended shareholders to reject the Gold Fields bid, a day after Gold Fields' decision not to match the Agnico-Pan American cash-and-shares offer.

Gold Fields executives have battled to convince investors of the merits of the takeover deal announced in May. The cash component in the Agnico Eagle and Pan American offer gave their bid an edge, analysts said.

"This looks like a good deal for all parties - a higher premium and cash component for Yamana shareholders, and good synergies for Agnico and Pan American," said Joe Foster, active fund manager at investment firm VanEck, which is Yamana's biggest shareholder and Gold Fields' fourth-biggest shareholder.

"Gold Fields management has shown itself to be proactive and I'm confident they will find other more accretive transactions," he added, in an email to Reuters. Foster had been critical of the original deal, saying it would create a more complex company with not many synergies.

Under the terms of their initial agreement, Yamana will have to pay Gold Fields $300 million for breaking off the deal.

Gold Fields' Johannesburg-listed shares barely moved on the news, indicating the market had already priced in the deal's collapse. Gold Fields shares are down around 19% from the day before the Yamana takeover deal was announced.

Under Agnico Eagle and Pan American's joint offer, Yamana shareholders will receive $1.0406 in cash, 0.0376 of an Agnico share and 0.1598 of a Pan American share for each share held.

Agnico has been on a deal-making streak, having acquired Kirkland Lake Gold for $11 billion last year. The Yamana deal would see Agnico gaining full control of Canada's biggest gold mine Canadian Malartic, which it owns jointly with Yamana.

Pan American would take over Yamana's four remaining mines: Minera Florida and El Penon in Chile, Cerro Moro in Argentina and Jacobina in Brazil.

Additional reporting by Arunima Kumar in Bengaluru and Nelson Banya in Harare; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila, David Goodman, Emelia Sithole-Matarise, David Evans and David Gregorio

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