Johannesburg - Global miner Anglo American [JSE:AGL] has
agreed to buy the Oppenheimer family’s stake in diamond miner De Beers for
$5.1bn in cash, taking its ownership of the diamond miner to up to 85%, it said
Anglo has long been speculated to be considering a deal to
increase its stake in unlisted De Beers, which vies with Russia’s Alrosa for
the title of the world’s largest diamond producer, from the current 45%, but
Friday’s announcement was unexpected.
“Today’s announcement marks our commitment to an industry
with highly attractive long term supply and demand fundamentals,” Anglo
American CEO Cynthia Carroll said.
“Underpinned by the security of supply offered by a new
10-year sales agreement with our partner, the Government of the Republic of
Botswana, this forms a compelling proposition.”
Anglo American said it had reached a deal with the CHL
Group, which represents the Oppenheimer family interest, but added Botswana had
a pre-emption right over the CHL stake, potentially lifting the government’s
ownership to up to 25%.
Anglo said that if Botswana exercised its rights in full, it
would raise its own interest in De Beers to 75%.
De Beers, founded by Cecil Rhodes in the 19th century,
controls about 40% of the world’s rough diamond supply.
Anglo American shares were up 2.3% at R302.52 on Friday
morning on the JSE Top 40 - (Tradeable) [JSE:J200].