It’s official – Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) has done a three-week due diligence and will move forward to buy lithium developer Kidman (ASX:KDR) for $$776m.

Currently, Kidman shares are worth $1.88, just shy of the $1.90 offer price.

Some analysts say this is a soft bid, but the deal has been blessed by the Kidman board and a number of major shareholders “in the absence of a superior proposal”.

The board and these major shareholders collectively hold 17 per cent of the company.

Now it comes down to a shareholder vote, scheduled for late August. If approved, the deal is expected to be completed in September 2019.

As part of the due diligence process, Wesfarmers says it has  its own plan to develop the Mt Holland lithium project, and “intends, upon completion of the acquisition of Kidman, to propose this plan, including some scope adjustments, to the joint venture [partner SQM]”.

Wesfarmers reckons it will need to spend about $700m on its share to develop the project; under its plan, Wesfarmers expects first production of lithium hydroxide in the second half of 2022.