Trader ups questionable takeover offer

TRADER Michael Bailey’s controversial takeover offer for Toronto-listed Papua New Guinea explorer Nautilus Minerals has been upped by 13%, from C97c per share to $1.10.
Trader ups questionable takeover offer Trader ups questionable takeover offer Trader ups questionable takeover offer Trader ups questionable takeover offer Trader ups questionable takeover offer

This is also 77% more than the closing share price of 62c on Friday.

While questions remain over the legitimacy of the takeover play launched last week, it has lifted Nautilus' struggling shares by a third after a low of 46c last Monday.

Nautilus is yet to announce it has received a genuine takeover bid or to change its previous advice for its shareholders to not take any action.

Bailey's first takeover announcement said law firm Fasken Martineau would represent him in the transaction, which the firm subsequently denied.

The Bailey-affiliated Gannibal Securities since clarified that Fasken was no longer representing Bailey in the transaction due to conflicts of interest with current board members of Nautilus.

The replacement firm, Bacchus Law, is yet to confirm involvement to PNGIndustryNews.net.

Last week another release revealed that Subsea Minerals chairman Robert Goodden - a former technical advisor for Nautilus' flagship offshore Solwara-1 copper-gold project in Papua New Guinea - was nominated to become the interim chairman of Nautilus if Bailey's takeover succeeds.

"The press announcement was made without my consent but I would back a properly funded bid if it were to be made," Gooden told PNGIndustryNews.net.

There was also another announcement that Bailey had retained True North Advisers to provide merger and acquisition related services for the takeover.

Michael Jaliman, TNA's man for this job, told the Australian Financial Review last week that Bailey and his family had a small shareholding of Nautilus and Bailey aimed to make contact with the explorer's management team.

Bailey has reportedly announced deals with three other Canadian companies since 2009, with all of them failing to materialise. The level of Bailey's financing is unknown.

London-based brokerage SP Angel is yet to be convinced of Bailey's takeover play.

"We do not believe Bailey's bid has credibility and reckon the offer is a crude ruse to either flush out another offer or spoof the market into buying stock at elevated levels," SP Angel said in a report last week that suggests selling Nautilus shares into the rally.

Nautilus shares nosedived in November after the explorer put its Solwara-1 project on hold by halting construction of its innovative seafloor production equipment to preserve cash.

Commissioning of the seafloor production equipment for Solwara-1 was previously expected in late 2013.

The company is engaged in an arbitration process started by the PNG government, which is a 30% stakeholder of the project.

Nautilus management has previously revealed that the PNG government had not contributed to any project costs since the joint venture was struck in March 2011.

Key stakeholders of Nautilus include Metalloinvest (21.0%), Anglo American (11.1%), Oman-based MB Resources (16.9%) and Teck Resources (4.5%).

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