BHP's bid for PotashCorp: how it unfolded

How the hostile takeover bid for the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan unfolded.
A Potash Corp. mine in Rocanville, Sask., shown in 2007. The company has dismissed BHP Billiton's $38.6-billion US hostile bid and is trying to cobble together a leveraged buyout possibly involving Chinese backers. ((Troy Fleece/Canadian Press))
Nov. 14, 2010: BHP Billiton withdraws its bid.

Nov. 3, 2010:  The federal government rejects Australian-based BHP Billiton's $38.6 billion US hostile takeover of Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan. Industry Minister Tony Clement made the announcement at 5:45 p.m. in Ottawa, several hours ahead of the midnight deadline for the government's decision on whether the bid represented a net benefit for Canada. He said Canada wants to attract investment and business, but "some decisions can only be made once … and there's no turning back, ever." He also noted that BHP has 30 days to respond to the government's decision, adding that "At the end of that period, I will make a final decision." BHP said it will continue to co-operate with Clement and Industry Canada and will review its options. 

Nov. 2, 2010: In a letter to Industry Minister Tony Clement, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall implores the federal government to "stand up for Canada and defend Canada's national strategic interests" by denying the foreign takeover bid. Clement hits out at media reports citing unnamed sources that Industry Canada has already come to a decision in favour of the bid, saying people should "cool their jets" and wait for his announcement.

Nov. 1, 2010:  Reports based on unnamed sources say BHP may or may not increase its bid.

Oct. 30, 2010:  Wall says he would consider imposing a resource transfer tax on BHP if the federal government backs the takeover.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says he wants to hear some expert advice on the implications of a potential sale of PotashCorp. ((CBC))
Oct. 29, 2010: Wall says Manitoba is opposed to the BHP bid, along with Alberta, New Brunswick and  Quebec.  Postash Corp.'s stock closes at $147.50 in Toronto.

Oct. 25, 2010: Saskatchewan ministers go to Ottawa to lobby against the bid. If the deal is to go ahead, the federal government must approve the BHP offer. The stock closes at $146.90 in Toronto.

Oct. 21, 2010: Premier Wall rejects the BHP bid. He says the proposed deal does not provide a net benefit to the people of Saskatchewan and Canada. The stock closes at $146.68 in Toronto.

Oct. 20, 2010: Liberal MPs said Ottawa should block the PotashCorp deal. The stock closes at $145.90 in Toronto.

Oct. 15, 2010: The Reuters news agency reports from Singapore that the Chinese chemical giant Sinochem Corp. wouldn't make a competing bid for PotashCorp.

Montreal-based billionaire investor Stephen Jarislowsky, a large shareholder in PotashCorp, said the BHP bid should be rejected.  The stock closes at $146.78 in Toronto.

BHP Billiton says a Conference Board of Canada report understated the benefits a proposed new potash mine will bring to Saskatchewan. ((CBC))
Oct. 4, 2010: A BHP takeover of PotashCorp could cut Saskatchewan government revenues by at least $2 billion over a decade, the Conference Board of Canada says. The stock closes at $147.60 in Toronto.

Sept. 2, 2010: Saskatchewan commissions the Conference Board of Canada to review the proposed takeover.

Alberta Investment Management Corp., the provincial pension fund manager, says it was approached by Chinese government-owned funds to consider joining a bid for  PotashCorp, but said it couldn't justify getting into a bidding war with BHP. PotashCorp stock closes at $156.25 in Toronto.

Aug. 23, 2010: PotashCorp stock hits $160.65 in Toronto, the peak since the bid was launched.

Aug. 18, 2010: BHP said it will take its offer directly to PotashCorp shareholders.

Aug. 17, 2010: Australian mining giant BHP Billiton makes an all-cash bid for the Canadian fertilizer producer worth about $38.5 billion US, or $130 a share. PotashCorp rejects the bid as "grossly inadequate."

The company's stock surges $31.02 US to $143.17 US in New York trading. In Toronto, it jumped more than $30 Cdn to over $147.