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Two more bidders for Meridian by Friday, securities commission told

Section: Daily Dispatches

By Canadian Press
Wednesday, September 5, 2007

TORONTO -- Meridian Gold Inc. will lose the protection of its poison pill plan on Sept. 11, an OSC panel ruled Wednesday, handing a procedural victory to Yamana Gold Inc.

Yamana, which has bid $3 billion in stock and cash to acquire Meridian, asked last week for the Ontario Securities Commission to intervene in the months-long takeover battle, arguing Meridian has had plenty of time to find an alternative bidder.

Meridian has repeatedly rejected Yamana's offer, saying its shareholders will be faced too much exposure to base-metal production, which could reduce the value of their holdings.

Christopher Lattanzi, the lead non-management director of Meridian's board, told the OSC panel that the main opposition to Yamana's offer is based on exposure to base metals.

"Meridian has always regarded itself as a precious-metals company ... and the board believes that is the way our shareholders would like it," Lattanzi testified.

"That was one of the things that weighed heavily on the mind of the board," he said. "It wasn't just a question of price."

Gary Mattan of BMO Capital Markets, which is advising Meridian, told the OSC panel that two gold companies are expected to make bids for Meridian by Friday.

Mattan was asked by Yamana's lawyer at the hearing whether the two companies preparing rival bids for Meridian also had exposure to base metals.

He replied that they did but "would have less base metals exposure than Yamana. They would be primarily gold companies."

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