TORONTO -- Barrick Gold Corp. said yesterday it offered to buy Vancouver-based gold mining company Placer Dome Inc. for about $9.2 billion in cash and stock in a deal that would create the world's largest gold producer.
Placer Dome, meanwhile, said its board of directors would meet to consider what Barrick's spokesman called a ''friendly unsolicited offer."
Placer Dome said in a statement that it would not comment until it completes a review of Barrick's offer.
Barrick spokesman Vincent Borg said the company's headquarters would remain in Toronto and the merger could result in staff cuts.
''There may be, but it is too early to specifically know if or where," Borg said in a telephone interview.
The deal between Toronto-based Barrick and Placer Dome is, in part, driven by rising costs of drawing gold from the ground and processing it.
Michael Fowler, analyst at Toronto-based Desjardins Securities Corp., said the planned acquisition would create the world's largest gold producer, which could help yield some cost savings.
Under the proposed deal, Placer Dome's shareholders would get $20.50 in cash, or a combination of 0.7518 of a Barrick common share plus 5 cents in cash, for each Placer Dome share.
Placer Dome shares jumped $3.44, or 20.8 percent, to close at $19.95 on the New York Stock Exchange yesterday. Barrick shares fell $1.95, or 7.2 percent, to close at $25.25.