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Macarthur spurns Peabody's sweetened $3.3 billion offer

Australia's Macarthur Coal rejected on Wednesday a sweetened A$3.56 billion ($3.27 billion) bid from top US coal miner Peabody Energy, sending its shares 4% lower. The rejection puts the onus back onto Peabody to contemplate a higher offer ahead of an April 12 vote by Macarthur shareholders on a rival plan to take over Gloucester Coal.

“The ball's in their court at the moment. It's up to Peabody as to whether they'll make another bid,” a spokesman for Macarthur said.

Macarthur said Peabody's new bid did not represent an adequate premium and it will go ahead with the Gloucester vote, which Peabody fiercely opposes as it would give Gloucester's main shareholder, Hong Kong-based commodities firm Noble Group, a one-fourth stake in Macarthur.

“Peabody's revised proposal remains highly conditional and does not fully value Macarthur and its significant growth prospects,” Macarthur Chairman Keith De Lacy said in a statement. (Reuters)