BHP reportedly ponders Alcoa bid
Speculation is that a deal could be worth $48b
Citing unidentified sources in the United States, The Australian reported that BHP had briefed investment bank Merrill Lynch on its interest in Pittsburgh-based Alcoa.
The newspaper said speculation increased over the weekend that Melbourne-based BHP Billiton could offer around $55 a share for Alcoa.
Alcoa had about 869.5 billion shares outstanding as of May 4, a regulatory filing showed.
At $55 a share, that would value the company at $47.6 billion.
BHP Billiton and Alcoa spokesmen declined to comment on the report.
Alcoa, a leading producer of aluminum products, withdrew its $28 billion hostile takeover bid for Canadian competitor Alcan Inc. after mining giant Rio Tinto made a significantly higher bid of $38.1 billion.
Shares of BHP Billiton dropped $1.20 to $66.76, while Alcoa's shares fell 58 cents to $46.88. Alcoa's share rose briefly to a 52-week high in yesterday's trading.