De Beers Bought Out by Anglo American for $5.1 billion
11/10/2011 9:45:22 AM Shira
De Beers, the world’s top producer of diamonds, is being bought out by the mining company Anglo American (who originally founded De Beers) for $5.1 billion. Anglo American is buying out the 40 percent stake of De Beers that has belonged to South Africa’s Oppenheimer family for over a century, raising Anglo’s share in De Beers to 75-85 percent.
"This transaction is a unique opportunity for Anglo American to consolidate control of the world's leading diamond company, De Beers," said Cynthia Carroll, the Chief Executive of Anglo American.
The transaction is estimate to take 9-12 months for it full implementation. Also, the government of Botswana has pre-emotion rights to increase its own stake in De Beers up to 25%.
“The diamond industry is a major contributor to our economy in Botswana. The Government of Botswana is grateful to the Oppenheimer family for their vision and contribution to the diamond industry and to Botswana and will proudly take forward that legacy with Anglo American. We look forward to building on the excellent relationship we have with Anglo American…through our ownership of De Beers…” said Dr. Ponatshego Kedikilwe, Botswana’s Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources.
Sources say that the Oppenheimers, who have been a mainstay of the diamond industry since 1902, are planning on refocusing their investments to areas outside of diamonds, such as private equity firms that invest in agricultural businesses in Africa. Also, for the first time in decades, Anglo American will not have a founding family member on its board.
"It is the end of an era because the Oppenheimers are intrinsically associated with De Beers and Anglo American,” said Des Kilalea, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets in London.
Diamond prices are expected to rise in the coming years, mainly as a result of demand from emerging market economies such as India and China.