Atlas Iron has now formally recommended shareholders accept the $390 million all-cash offer tabled by Australia’s richest woman.

The company (ASX:AGO) pretty much told shareholders to accept last week – with “a majority of the Atlas board” in favour of the new offer made by a subsidiary of Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting.

All of Atlas’ directors are now on the same page with the company telling investors this morning that the board “unanimously” recommends the offer if a better offer doesn’t emerge and an independent expert says its “fair and reasonable”.

Atlas has been the subject of a three-way battle for control of the struggling iron ore producer.

Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN) was the first to make a play for the junior, but bowed out when it decided it couldn’t match Gina Rinehart’s 40 per cent better all-cash offer.

Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG), meanwhile, raised its stake in the company to block the MinRes bid and this week called on the Takeovers Panel to intervene in Hancock Prospecting’s play for the company.

Fortescue’s interest in Atlas lies in the development of crucial port infrastructure at Port Hedland in Western Australia’s Pilbara, but industry commentators don’t see the company tabling a takeover offer.

The Hancock offer is expected to open early next week, but Atlas still advises shareholders not to take action until they have received the target’s statement and the independent expert’s report.

Atlas has declined to comment on the matter until its target’s statement has been released.