More than 111m shares in OZ Minerals were sold today as investors gained another painful bout of cold feet, despite media speculation early today that the bankers owed $A1.3bn ($US936m) would extend the terms of their lifeline.
If they are patient, then they will have to abide by the Australian Government's intention of extending its review for at least 90 days.
Ever since China Minmetals Non-Ferrous Metals Co Ltd presented its $US1.8bn offer to take over OZ Metals, one of the world's biggest zinc and lead producers, the share price has found it difficult to match its offer that represented A82 cents/share. Today the price dipped A5.5c to close at 53.5c.
What spooked investors was Monday's announcement by OZ Minerals that Australia's Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) extended its assessment time for the takeover to June 22, well past the deadline OZ Minerals directors and Minmetals had sought.
The Federal Trade Minister Simon Crean reportedly said today that the extension of the FIRB probe showed more time was needed to weigh the full impact of the proposal. That comment was translated by some business observers that Canberra was sweating under the weight of several control and takeover bids, mainly by Chinese companies - including Chinalco's bid for Rio Tinto Ltd - and did not want to be seen as moving too quickly, something Canberra is not noted for anyway.