De Beers Investments, the consortium attempting to buy and take private the De Beers group, today advised De Beers' linked unit shareholders that it intends to increase its offer. According to a notice sent to De Beers shareholders by De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd. and De Beers Centenary AG, DBI plans to offer an additional $2 per share for linked unit shares.
The offer, says DBI Chairman Nicholas Oppenheimer, is subject to financing and more details will follow. However, it was clear this will be the group's last bid. "Such an increase once made should be considered final," the notice said.
DBI's change of heart, analysts speculated in the Financial Times of London, may be in response to last week's news that several American investment groups are opposing the DBI buyout, which will be voted on by shareholders May 4 (see related news). Earlier, South African shareholders said they too were not happy with the DBI offer. Together, the shareholder opposition would have been enough to kill the deal.
DBI's consortium partners, along with Anglo American, are the Oppenheimer family and the Government of Botswana. The group was under pressure to decide on a new offer by Friday, when certain investors will vote by proxy. South Africa has two public holidays coming up as well, adding pressure to the deadline.
- by Peggy Jo Donahue