The Financial Post reports in its Saturday edition that Barrick Gold says the window has closed on a potential deal with Freeport-McMoran Inc., given the run-up in copper prices and recent comments from the world's largest publicly traded producer of the industrial metal. A Bloomberg dispatch to the Post says that Barrick had engaged in conversations with Freeport in an effort to boost its exposure to copper, chief executive officer Mark Bristow told Bloomberg. Talks were "both remote and direct," he said, without indicating when they took place or if they were focused on a potential corporate tie-up or asset deals.
A surge in copper prices to eight-year highs has pushed up valuations of producers of the metal used in wiring, with Freeport's stock nearly tripling in the past 12 months. Freeport CEO Richard Adkerson also dismissed a merger of equals in October as the Phoenix-based company pushed ahead with retooling its massive copper-and-gold flagship mine in Indonesia. Barrick closed Friday at $24.93, down 78 cents on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
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