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Sydney-based Riversdale in takeover tussle

Dec. 24, 2010 at 11:23 AM

MUMBAI, Dec. 24 (UPI) -- India's Tata Steel Ltd. says it's studying a $3.91 billion offer for Riversdale Mining Ltd., and a group of Indian state-run companies considered a counter-bid.

Tata Steel owns a 24 percent interest in Sydney-based Riversdale, for which Rio Tinto Ltd. has made a takeover bid, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

Tata Steel, in a regulatory filing, said it would "evaluate the takeover bid in the context of other alternatives available to Tata Steel."

International Coal Ventures Ltd. -- a joint venture of Steel Authority of India Ltd., NTPC Ltd., NMDC Ltd., Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd. and Coal India -- announced it has appointed Citibank as its merchant banker to advise on a possible counter-bid for Riversdale.

ICVL's chairman denied the group had initiated talks with Tata Steel about a counter-bid.

"No. Any decision on bidding will be taken after the merchant banker's report," Chairman C.S. Verma said.

Any ICVL bid would have to top Rio Tinto's offer of $16 a share for Riversdale.

Verma said ICVL has enough time to decide whether to make a counter-bid because a Riversdale shareholders' meeting on Rio Tinto's offer will take place after 30 days and Citibank will submit its report within two weeks.

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