At J.P. Morgan Chase, fraud claims are just ordinary business expenses

Section:

By Ben Harding
Reuters
Wednesday July 21, 2004

http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=5734180

JOHANNESBURG -- African gold producer Randgold
Resources said Wednesday it might consider a tie-up
with Canada's Iamgold Corp., but South Africa's Gold
Fields quashed rumours it was in the hunt.

Iamgold has been at the center of bid speculation for
weeks after its shareholders rejected a merger with
fellow Canadian gold miner Wheaton River Minerals.
It is now battling to fend off a hostile bid from Golden
Star Resources.

Iamgold "is still assessing proposals, opportunities,
offers," Randgold Chief Executive Mark Bristow told
Reuters during a telephone interview. "That's something
we've taken note of and in due course we would be able
to share with people whether we have decided to pursue
it or not."

Gold Fields, with which Toronto-based Iamgold has a
partnership in the Tarkwa and Damang mines of Ghana,
meanwhile said it was not in the market for the
mid-sized producer.

"We are not bidding for Iamgold. We have got bigger
fish to fry," a Gold Fields spokesman told Reuters.

Mining analysts see Randgold as the most likely
African suitor for Iamgold, either through acquisition
or merger, with AngloGold Ashanti and Gold Fields'
interest tempered by a hefty premium on Iamgold
shares due to the bid activity.

"I think AngloGold Ashanti and Goldfields would
be interested at the right price, but the price is too
high," Andisa Securities analyst David Davis said.

Golden Star's current bid is valued at about $800
million, an offer Iamgold says is too low.

Johannesburg-based AngloGold, the world's
second-largest gold producer, brushed off speculation
that it was interested on Wednesday, telling Reuters it
did not see bid activity affecting them or their
relationship with Iamgold.

Iamgold has minority interests in two AngloGold
operations in Mali -- the Sadiola mine and the Yatela
mine.

In March, Iamgold Chief Executive Joseph Conway
said Randgold was a good fit as a possible merger
partner. Both companies operate in West Africa and
Iamgold is keen to shed its non-operator status, which
Randgold has.

"We're some 100 km south of the Sadiola and Yatela
projects (in Mali) where Iamgold are in joint venture
with AngloGold ... so I guess the market might see
that as a geographic fit," Bristow said, referring to its
Loulo mine in Mali.

Bristow said he had talked with Conway around six
weeks ago. Bristow said the firm would consider any
merger or acquisition that offered value.

"We had discussions going back some time, but clearly
Iamgold decided to go and pursue Wheaton River,"
Bristow said.

"We're not shy to pursue M&As should they fulfil our
criteria, we demonstrated that to the market."

Randgold, a 300,000 ounce-a-year producer, made a
name for itself last year when it set off a
David-and-Goliath bidding war against AngloGold,
the world's second-largest gold miner, for African
producer Ashanti Goldfields, which eventually went
to AngloGold.

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