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Goldcorp CEO warns Osisko shareholders he’s prepared to move on

“This is not the only opportunity in the world,” Goldcorp CEO Chuck Jeannes said in an interview Wednesday.

Ben Nelms/REUTERS

Goldcorp Inc.'s chief executive says he is prepared to kill his hostile bid for Canadian rival Osisko Mining Corp. if it becomes too complicated or expensive.

"This is not the only opportunity in the world," Goldcorp CEO Chuck Jeannes said in an interview Wednesday. "We don't have to do this deal. We think it makes sense, but we are going to be disciplined."

The unsolicited cash and stock bid is currently on hold because Osisko sued Goldcorp for allegedly breaching a confidentiality agreement between the two Canadian miners.

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A Quebec court will make a decision on the lawsuit next week, which could further delay Goldcorp's bid.

"It may be the case that if this becomes too complicated that we go look at something else. That would be a very bad day for Osisko shareholders. They would probably see their stock drop by 20 per cent overnight," said Mr. Jeannes.

He would not provide detail on his company's other options.

For more than five years, Mr. Jeannes has tried to acquire Montreal-based Osisko for its massive Canadian Malartic mine in Quebec. The mine would add an additional 10 million ounces of gold reserves to Goldcorp's portfolio of mines and projects in the Americas and Mexico.

Since Goldcorp announced the $3-billion bid, Osisko has opened its books to other rivals and signed a number of confidentiality agreements, a source has said.

Mr. Jeannes said competitors having that information puts Goldcorp at a disadvantage, but said that if another suitor were going to make a competing bid they would have done it by now. "As time passes, it's much less likely," he said.

Osisko has consistently traded above Goldcorp's offer, but the gap is narrowing, suggesting shareholders do not believe a much higher bid is coming.

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Osisko is now at $6.93 per share, 4 per cent higher than Goldcorp's offer of $6.66 based on current stock prices. Previously, Osisko traded a minimum of 5 per cent higher than the offering price.

Mr. Jeannes, who has had no substantive talks with Osisko since launching the bid, is hoping that the Osisko board will give Goldcorp access to its data after the Quebec trial.

It is unclear whether Osisko will eventually relent. Friction between the mining companies has been building for years with both now publicly accusing the other of acting in bad faith.

"Contrary to what Mr. Jeannes has suggested, Osisko is well positioned to deliver much greater value to its shareholders than what Goldcorp has on offer," Osisko's chief executive Sean Roosen said in a statement.

Mr. Roosen is appealing to Quebeckers and has warned of the loss of a corporate head office in the province.

But Mr. Jeannes said the Vancouver-based Goldcorp will eventually have what he calls a "significant presence" in Quebec with one of its projects in the province, Éléonore, due to start production later this year.

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"Whether we complete the Osisko deal or not, we will have a permanent presence in Montreal," Mr. Jeannes said. "We need local leaders … that understand doing business in Quebec."

As for savings from combining the two companies, Mr. Jeannes said that since Goldcorp is one of the world's largest gold miners, it could buy mining equipment like tires and chemicals cheaper than Osisko, which only operates one mine.

Although the Quebec government has proposed new ways for companies to defend themselves against unsolicited bids, Mr. Jeannes said he does not expect any kind of backlash in the province if Goldcorp's bid is successful.

The anti-hostile takeover plan, which has been denounced by shareholder activists, would only apply to companies incorporated in Quebec and not those that are federally incorporated like Osisko.

Mr. Jeannes said he was not concerned about the business climate in Quebec and said he has good relations with the provincial government.

Mr. Jeannes said he has spoken to various government officials about his bid and said has not made any promises to the Quebec government.

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About the Authors
Chief Quebec correspondent

Sophie Cousineau is The Globe and Mail’s chief Quebec correspondent. She has been working as a journalist for more than 20 years, and was La Presse’s business columnist prior to joining the Globe in 2012. Ms. Cousineau earned a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Illinois and a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from McGill University. More

Economics Reporter

Rachelle Younglai is The Globe and Mail's economics reporter. More

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