The Federal government in Ottawa has rejected the $40 billion hostile takeover of Potash Corp of Saskatchewan by Australia's BHB Billiton. Industry Minister Tony Clement said that the deal proposed by BHP Billiton did not represent a net benefit to Canada.
The Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall was the first to praise the ruling which helped to keep Potash Corp a Canadian company. Mr Wall had said that he was ready to sue Ottawa if the Prime Minister Stephen Harper had agreed to the takeover bid.
The decision came 11 weeks after the initial bid by BHP Billiton during which time there has been intensive lobbying from both sides. Now BHP Billiton has 30 days to resubmit an offer that would project a net benefit to Canada as per the Investment Canada Act.
Mr. Clement will take a final decision based on the revised bid 30 days later. Potash Corp has maintained that the offer made was too low given the potential of the company. Had the deal succeeded it would have been the biggest corporate takeover this year.
After the rejection of Minnesota based Alliant Techsystems proposal to takeover MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates in 2008, this is the second major foreign takeover that the Conservative government has rejected.