Qatar Looking with Favor on Glencore-Xstrata Deal

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In the first official comments since the revised merger agreement between Glencore International and Xstrata, the prime minister of Qatar has said, "[W]e are looking in favor of doing something between the two companies," according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. Qatar's sovereign wealth fund, Qatar Holdings, owns a stake of around 12% in Xstrata, second in size only to Glencore's 34%.

The Qatar government has withheld its view on the revised deal ever since the revisions were announced earlier this month. Glencore boosted its offer from 2.8 shares of Glencore for each share of Xstrata to 3.05 shares, but Qatar had been demanding 3.25 shares. Another sticking point could be the retention package being offered to some 70 Xstrata executives. The revised deal essentially separated the offer for the Xstrata from the retention package.

Qatar Holdings did not say whether it would vote for the merger, nor did it say how it would vote on the executive retention package. The fund has previously said that it would support the merger only if the retention package was included in the deal. That reflects some concern on the part of the fund on the ability of Glencore's executive team to manage a mining company.

Paul Ausick

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