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Earlier this week, 18.8 per cent of Sir Ron Brierley’s company Mercantile Investment Company (ASX: MVT) was bought by fellow investor Sandon Capital Investments (ASX: SNC).
Today, we found out why. After a 58-year career, the corporate raider will retire imminently.
“Due to age and health issues, I can no longer give the total commitment to the company which it requires and which shareholders deserve. I believe this is in the best interests of all,” said Brierley.
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As a consequence, Sandon and Mercantile will merge and Gabriel Radzyminski will be chairman. While Sandon has launched a takeover bid, it accumulated its initial stake (just below the non-takeover threshold) directly from a Brierley controlled company.
Despite his departure, Brierley promised little would change.
“SNC will continue to be an activist investor,” he said. “If the merger is successful, I am confident that there are good prospects for the enlarged SNC.”
Brierley departs after 58 years in the investment industry. In 1961 he founded the Brierley group but was forced out three decades later after it was hit by the 1987 share market crash and failed to recover. For nearly two decades after that he was chairman of Guinness Peat Group and since 2012 controlled Mercantile.
Mercantile is a well-known corporate raider. Among recent takeover bids was Yellow Brick Road (ASX: YBR), but chairman Mark Bouris declared it “grossly inadequate” and nothing eventuated.
Only three years ago Brierley said the only scenario in which he saw himself retiring was “if there’s nothing left worth taking over”.
In other ASX corporate news today
Salt Lake Potash (ASX: SO4) has raised $20.3 million and its largest shareholder, Swiss private bank Lombard Odier put in another $6 million. Stockhead estimates it will hold just over 14 per cent of the company once the raising is complete. The remainder was made up by a consortium of individual investors, including the founders of LionOre Mining and Mantra Resources, both of which were sold to Russian mining giants for US$6.3 billion and US$1 billion respectively.
One of the mining companies affected by Tanzania’s legislative changes, Graphex Mining (ASX: GPX), has received a response to its government submission. The letter clarified several issues for the company including that its graphite could be exported.
It also confirmed the government would have a free carried interest of 16 per cent under Tanzanian law. The resolution of these issues is a key step towards unlocking US$80 million in finance from mining financier Castlelake.