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Last Updated: Friday, 21 December 2007, 19:16 GMT
BHP given Rio takeover deadline
Rio Tinto plant in Australia
Rio Tinto wants certainty for its shareholders
Mining giant BHP Billiton will have to decide by 6 February whether to make a bid for rival Rio Tinto, the UK's Takeover Panel says.

London-based Rio Tinto had asked the panel to force BHP to formalise its all-share bid, worth around $140bn.

Rio quickly spurned BHP's offer, saying it fundamentally undervalued Rio and its growth prospects.

BHP announced its plan in November, seeking to create a business with a third of the world's iron-ore market.

"Our shareholders deserve to have certainty and therefore we welcome the Panel's decision today," said Paul Skinner, chairman of Rio Tinto.

"The boards are unanimous in the view that BHP Billiton's rejected proposal was wholly inadequate.

"We have been very clear as to where we stand and feel it is time for BHP to do likewise."

The "put up or shut up" ruling by the Takeover Panel requires BHP, the world's largest mining company, to make a bid by 1700 GMT on 6 February or walk away.

BHP said it was considering its options.



SEE ALSO
Rio calls for BHP bid time limit
11 Dec 07 |  Business
Blackstone 'eyes rival Rio bid'
10 Dec 07 |  Business
Rio boss says BHP bid 'too low'
02 Dec 07 |  Business
Rio fights to keep BHP bid at bay
26 Nov 07 |  Business
Steel firms oppose BHP-Rio deal
19 Nov 07 |  Business
BHP woos Rio Tinto shareholders
12 Nov 07 |  Business
BHP makes bid move for Rio Tinto
08 Nov 07 |  Business
Rio Tinto secures Alcan takeover
24 Oct 07 |  Business

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