London - The global mining group Anglo American [JSE:AGL]
said on Tuesday that it has finalised its purchase of a 40% stake in De Beers
that seals a takeover of one of the world's leading diamond companies.
"Anglo American announces the completion of its
acquisition of a 40% shareholding in De Beers from CHL," a company that
represents the interests of South Africa's Oppenheimer family, a brief
The deal raised Anglo American's holding in De Beers to 85%
at a cost of $5.2bn, slightly more than initially estimated owing to "a
number of adjustments as provided for under the agreement," the statement
Anglo American was able to take over De Beers after
diamond-rich Botswana, which owns a 15% stake in De Beers, agreed to forego its
right to buy another 25%.
De Beers is a global leader in the exploration, mining and
marketing of diamonds.
Cecil Rhodes, the colonial-era politician and mining tycoon,
founded De Beers in 1888. His fortune financed his imperial adventures for
Britain, founding the state of Rhodesia which later became modern Zambia and
In the early 1900s, Ernest Oppenheimer, a young German
employed by a British trading company, began buying up mining interests in
neighbouring Namibia (then still South West Africa), with American backing.
In 1917 he formed the Anglo American Corporation and by 1920
his Consolidated Diamond Mines had become a force in the mining industry.
By the end of that decade, he had taken control of De Beers
Consolidated Mines, and his control of the diamond industry had begun.
Oppenheimer's shrewdest move was to establish a central
selling organisation that would stabilise sales and keep prices at a premium -
a system which exists to this day and which has allowed De Beers to maintain
its tight grip on the precious gem business.
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