(4 November 2010)
PCS Hostile Takeover Bid Rejected
After months of speculation and debate, the federal government announced this week it was rejecting Australian mining giant BHP Billiton’s hostile takeover bid for the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan. Industry Minister Tony Clement sided with Saskatchewan when he announced the takeover bid did not meet Investment Canada criteria requiring that any foreign investment be a net benefit for Canada. To the many people, including the federal Minister, the Premiers of Alberta, Quebec and Manitoba, respected Canadian business leaders and, most importantly the people of Saskatchewan, our government says thank you.
This was the right decision for many reasons. If BHP Billiton had been successful in its takeover bid, the Canadian and Saskatchewan economies stood to lose billions of dollars and thousands of jobs. Even if the huge mining company was able to meet the concessions it made to offset anticipated losses in jobs and revenue, it could never account for the loss of this strategic resource. Never before has a corporate takeover of this nature involved a jurisdiction containing more than half of the world’s supply. The BHP Billiton deal alone accounted for 30 per cent of that.
This was not an easy decision. Our government, as I’m sure the federal government did, struggled with it. It asks a fundamental question: can Saskatchewan and Canada be free-trading, open market jurisdictions and still say no to certain take-over proposals? The answer is yes. We can be open for business and, at the same time, take steps to protect this strategic resource belonging to the people of Saskatchewan.
This is not over yet. Over the next 30 days, BHP Billiton has the right to respond to the federal government’s decision and possibly make a revised offer. We know they are already considering their options. Our government will remain vigilant and continue to take action that protects the shareholders of our strategic potash resource: YOU, the people of Saskatchewan.
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