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Australia's Fortescue asks watchdog to delay Rinehart's Atlas bid

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A unit of iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group requested to delay a bid by a Hancock Prospecting unit for Atlas Iron Ltd seeking further disclosures, the Australian Takeovers Panel said on Tuesday.

[BENGALURU] A unit of iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group requested to delay a bid by a Hancock Prospecting unit for Atlas Iron Ltd seeking further disclosures, the Australian Takeovers Panel said on Tuesday.

Atlas Iron is the subject of an off-market, A$390 million (S$393.2 million) takeover bid by billionaire Gina Rinehart-controlled Redstone Corp Pty Ltd for the shares which it does not already have an interest in.

NCZ Investments Pty Ltd, a unit of world No 4 iron ore miner Fortescue, seeks interim orders to restrain Hancock's unit Redstone from dispatching its bidder's statement, the panel said.

NCZ, which holds an economic interest in 19.9 per cent of Atlas, is also seeking to stop Hancock Prospecting and Redstone from buying any more Atlas shares until further disclosure is provided. NCZ alleges "misleading statements and material omissions" regarding Redstone's intentions for Atlas' business and its ability to achieve them.

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Hancock was not immediately available to comment on the matter.

A sitting panel has not been appointed and no decision has been made whether to conduct the proceedings, the regulator said.

Atlas operates in the iron ore-rich Pilbara region of Western Australia and has undeveloped tenements that could be brought into production with a larger partner.

REUTERS