IOH 0.00% 70.0¢ iron ore holdings limited

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    Monday's friendly BCI bid for IOH has heightened interest in the West Pilbara but any other rival bidder for the junior will be on a tight timeline to prepare an alternative offer.

    IOH's majority shareholder, Kerry Stokes' Australian Capital Equity, has agreed to sell into the BCI offer within 14 days of its formal opening - around August 22, according to the timeline outlined in the merger announcement - unless a superior proposal emerges. That gives rival bidders until September 11 to deliver an alternative bid.

    It is understood the tie-up caught the new management at Aquila Resources - the other potential alternative to BCI - by surprise. It is understood Aquila's new owners are nearing completion of a review of the company's West Pilbara project and are now seeking to engage with iron ore juniors in the region to pitch their case for use of the Anketell port and rail project.

    That process was interrupted by the BCI bid for IOH, sources say. The IOH board agreed to "no shop, no talk" clauses in the merger deed, leaving Baosteel and Aurizon with little option but to either wait out the merger or quickly prepare a superior proposal in the hope of winning control of IOH.
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