Peabody's $5bn coal takeover planned in 24 hours?

Hey, I know, let's spend $5bn!

Julia Gillard, desperate to jump on anything that will support her pointless carbon tax, claims that a massive takeover offer is a sign that her tax won’t hurt coal:

JULIA Gillard has seized on a $4.7 billion coal takeover bid as proof of the industry’s ongoing viability as it emerged Tony Abbott repeatedly questioned the purchasing company’s prospects under a carbon tax.

Shrugging off record low opinion polls this morning, the Prime Minister said the takeover of Queensland-based Macarthur Coal by US-owned Peabody Energy was an endorsement of her climate change plan.

“We are seeing the biggest takeover bid in Australian history for a coal company, ” she told ABC radio.

“You couldn’t get a better indication that business people see a good future in coal mining in this country. There’s more certainty now than there was before Sunday.” (source)

Are you seriously suggesting that a five BILLION dollar takeover proposal was conceived and executed in the 24 hours since your carbon tax announcement? That a business about to make such a massive investment just “did it on a whim” after seeing you on the telly on Sunday night?

You’re a lawyer, Julia. You know how these things work. It would have taken months of planning, research and due diligence before this announcement was made. And there’s plenty of that still to be done before the deal is signed. This would have been in the pipeline for ages, and Julia’s announcement had nothing to do with it whatsoever.

And Peabody has had its eye on Macarthur for ages, see here from 2010.

Delusional and desperate (and the media reported it all without any critical thought, as per usual).


  1. Steve Reynolds says:

    Nobody is “seriously suggesting that a five BILLION dollar takeover proposal was conceived and executed in the 24 hours” since the carbon tax announcement. But it would’ve been quite easy for Peabody to kill the deal or defer it for more analysis if the carbon tax and ETS detail had proved to be even half as frightening as Abbott has been making out. Industry will favour tax and the ETS because it gives them certainty. They know we will all eventually need to act on climate change, so the sooner the better. They know Abbott is not a serious person, and his approach to this issue is all about his own ascendancy.

    • There’s way more going on in this story than you or anyone else can claim to know – for Julia to somehow trumpet it as an endorsement of her tax is utter nonsense.

      “They know we will all eventually need to act on climate change” – what like China and India are doing, for example? Or the US? Because the Climate Commission (that excluded any dissenting views on the need to take action) said so? Even if you believe the science unquestioningly (as it appears you do), then taxes and emissions trading schemes are not the answer.

    • Steve
      You reckon you (and the government) are God. “Act on climate change”! What are you going to “act” on?
      Juliar: “We must combat climate change”! What is she going to “combat”?
      You are arrogant if you think you can control the climate.
      97% of all Carbon Dioxide is natural (CO2 makes up only 0.038% of the earth’s atmosphere). Why don’t you suck the swamps dry and plug the volcano’s? Why spend billions on the 3% manmade portion when there is no scientific evidence that CO2 drives higher temp’s?
      There has been no warming (rather a gentle cooling) the previous decade while CO2 increased by 5%.

      • Steve Reynolds says:

        Staal, you crack me up. Are you guys still peddling those lines about “no warming for a decade” and “most of it’s naturally occurring, so why bother”? I haven’t heard those chestnuts for about 5 years, except from Alan Jones and Barnaby Joyce.

        Assuming you aren’t deliberately trying to mislead people, you really do owe it to yourself to be better informed. If you want to understand the facts, try this:

        I’m interested in skeptical, fact-based debate. So today was my first visit to this site, and my last.

        • ROFLMAO! If your source of information is Skeptical Science, that just says it all!

          “There’s none so blind as those who will not see.”

        • Every day we get confirmation: Environmentalism is a mental disorder.

        • Steve Reynold, you realy need corect informations, with real proofs. Only if you have stomach for the truth, it’s on Be fair to yourself and read it all. You will sleap better, by having real proofs that CO2 doesn’t produce GLOBAL warming. Water changes the climate, not CO2. Get this: when the planet’s atmosphere warms up, for any reason; atmosphere expends up, into space of minus -90C. Intercepts extra coldness in 3,5 seconds – redirects it down in minutes. That extra coldness falls somewhere else. Extra heat in the atmosphere is not acumulative. b] CO2 is 270-400 parts per million, but you have to learn that oxygen and nitrogen are 998999 parts per million. No CO2 can prevent them of expending. Learn about the laws of physics. P.s. carbon levy colected should be put in trust acount. Because when people know what is on my website and in my book, they will ask the beneficiories to return the money, with modest interest. If you have adhesive fingers, my end up in Gulag for the spoils.

    • “They know Abbott is not a serious person, and his approach to this issue is all about his own ascendancy.”

      Come on. If you’re going to throw mud at Abbott, at least do better than that wishy-washy statement. You guys don’t even try now that you can’t call him a liar, with the liar-in-chief holding all the ribbons for that prize.

      An acquisition of this size would be done with a time horizon far beyond the length of any PM.

      The acquisition is strategic to supply metallurgical coal to china and other emerging markets.

      Most likely the announcment was timed to make use of the drop in the markets resulting from the carbon tax announcment, and to capitalise on the current uncertainty generated. The only certainty is a guaranteed carbon price of zero. Anything else is subject to the whims or either poltiicans or markets.

      The only job losses in coal will be in so-called gassy mines. Either Macarthur doesn’t have any of these, or Peabody has factored that into the price.

  2. Could be that Peabody may be assuming that this tax is not going to be around very long & that sanity will prevail.

  3. If anything the deal has probably been announced to capitalise on the massive uncertainty in the market, when the takeover target is at low price.

    As you say, planning would have been in place for months, but I think they’ve decided to jump on it while the entire market is beset with uncertainty.

    The headline should be ‘foreign company buys up Australian mine while price is battered from tax’

    If I were her, I wouldn’t have said this. It’s just the sort of announcement that will come back to bite if a senior exec decides differently.

  4. Three unrelated quotations, and no comment from you Robert. What does it mean?

  5. Baldrick says:

    One could also argue, using the Prime Ministers logic, that the takeover bid, if successful, means companies like:

    – CITIC Group (24%) – a Chinese state owned company
    – HSBC Bank (15%) – owns more than 10% of all of the big four Australian Banks
    – National Nominees Limited (10%) – the number three shareholder for all of the Big Four Banks

    have seen the light of what this regressive carbon dioxide tax will do to Australia and want to opt out from the Australian mining sector.

    Incidentally the second largest shareholder in Macarthur Mining is ARCELORMITTAL NETHERLANDS BV (16%) – which is a subsidiary of Peabody Energy in any case.
    Read it here:

  6. I know from firsthand experience that as far back as 24 months ago there has been largescale planning overseas to go “bargain shopping” in Australia, not because the country is in great shape but because the government’s actions at federal and state levels have really knocked our businesses down a few pegs, starved them of cash, and made them ripe for takeover.

    In terms of the coal industry, anyone buying into it at present becomes a “beeeg polluuuudder” but also of necessity a big carbon trader. Further, as always, the international buyer will be getting a break from the government – much more so than the local owners ever do.

  7. I doubt Peabody will sell the coal locally. They’ll ship it out and avoid paying the tax. It’s a great time to buy if you have the intention to export.

  8. Just last week Senator Brown and his colleague, NSW senator Lee Rhiannon, said the replacement of the coal industry with renewables was critical and could be achieved in a decade.

    Peabody is either in the dark or has put money on Brown’s Goons being run out of town before too long.

    It’s a fair bet.

    • Baldrick says:

      The Australian Coal Association’s Ralph Hillman told ABC News24 that the carbon price will cost mines and jobs despite the takeover bid.

      RALPH HILLMAN: Now what we’re seeing here is a high quality asset selling metallurgical coal, which is a very high value commodity. So it’s not astonishing that this should take place, it certainly doesn’t prove the carbon tax won’t impact industry.

  9. fred nerk says:

    What do you expect the POS has all the brains of a flea circus and she’s clutching at straws.CO2 is life

  10. Obviously some big interests have looked at the public response and decided that the carbon tax will not go ahead.

    Already several Labor members are that jittery they are looking at crossing the floor.

    Tony should offer say five of them a deal, with their marginal seats being unopposed at the next one or two elections. That’ll do it.

  11. Graham Richards says:

    From now on Julia Gillard should be referred to as “Dear Leader”.

    She has earned this esteemed Marxist title from the dictatorial way she is ignoring the call of more than 60% of the electorate for an election.

    The North Korean leader must be proud of her.

  12. John Hook says:

    Delusional and desperate (and the media reported it all without any critical thought, as per usual). – agree heaps with that, The media seem to act at times like spoon-fed morons.

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