Mining magnate Andrew Forrest

Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest’s Fortescue Metals Group is now weighing in on the takeover battle for Atlas Iron, calling on the Australian regulator to intervene.

NCZ Investments, a subsidiary of Fortescue that holds a 19.9 per cent stake in Atlas, has submitted an application to the Australian Takeovers Panel regarding Gina Rinehart’s $390 million bid for Atlas.

The company says that the bidder’s statement lodged by Redstone, a subsidiary of Ms Rinehart’s privately owned Hancock Prospecting, contains “misleading statements and material omissions” regarding its plans for Atlas.

NCZ Investments says the “combined operation of the identified misleading statements and omissions and the structure of Redstone’s bid has a coercive effect on Atlas shareholders to accept the bid (or sell on-market potentially to Redstone)”.

The Fortescue subsidiary wants the Takeovers Panel to stop Redstone from dispatching its bidder’s statement and releasing any other information.

Atlas Iron (ASX:AGO) shares over the past year.

NCZ Investments also wants the regulator to order the suitor to issue a replacement bidder’s statement and cancel any acquisition of shares by Hancock or Redstone since the takeover offer was announced.

Atlas originally struck a “friendly” all-scrip deal with larger rival Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN) back in April.

But earlier in June Ms Rinehart came in with a 40 per cent better all-cash offer that Atlas just couldn’t say no to.

MinRes had the option of matching the deal but decided to walk away.

While MinRes was said to be more interested in the port infrastructure being developed by a joint venture that included Atlas, Hancock wants the junior’s iron ore to extend the life of its Pilbara operations.

Both Fortescue and Hancock raised their respective stakes to 19.9 per cent after the MinRes deal was announced in a bid to block the takeover.

Atlas shares didn’t move on the news and were trading at 4.3c at 1.45pm AEST.