Australia's Sundance says Chinese suitor Hanlong can't meet key deadline for $1.36 B takeover

SYDNEY – Australia-based iron ore miner Sundance Resources Ltd. said its Chinese suitor Hanlong Mining Investment Ltd. can’t meet a crucial deadline Tuesday for a 1.3 billion Australian dollars ($1.36 billion) takeover.

Investors have already factored in the likelihood of the deal falling apart. Shares in Sundance, which has operations in Africa, have slumped because of Hanlong’s inability to secure finance and reports last week that Liu Han, chairman of the Hanlong Group, had been detained by Chinese police.

A Chinese police statement on Friday said that Liu was suspected of hiding a brother who is a fugitive in a murder case. Hanlong has been unable to contact Liu after a Chinese financial newspaper reported he was detained in mid-March.

Hanlong has told Sundance that details of financing required to be provided as part of the takeover will not be delivered as planned by Tuesday.

Either company can terminate the takeover if no new agreement is reached within five business days.

Michael McCarthy, chief executive of stockbroker CMC Markets, said the collapse of the deal was widely expected.

“Hanlong is going to be forced to step away because of factors that are beyond their control such as an inability to get finance and some concerns about the leadership of the company in China,” he said. “What we’re likely to see after this five-day meeting is a mutual statement that they’ve agreed to go their separate ways,” he said.

McCarthy said it was extremely unlikely that Hanlong would be able to secure finance within five days, meaning Sundance could be later broken up and sold.

This scenario would be more likely than Sundance finding another suitor, he said.

Hanlong’s proposed takeover of Sundance has dragged on for 20 months due to regulatory delays and Hanlong’s inability to secure finance.

Hanlong executives have faced a volley of allegations of insider trading, market manipulation and tax allegations even as the company’s overseas bankers have been talking up the company’s bona fides.