Glencore PLC considered a potential acquisition of Australian miner Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. during a period of depressed prices for iron ore in 2016 to gain exposure to the commodity, The Australian reported, citing unnamed sources close to both companies.
However, the Swiss commodities trader opted not to pursue a potential deal as controlling shareholder Andrew Forrest was not inclined to divest his 35% stake in Fortescue, sources cited by the news outlet said.
The sources said Glencore remains open to diversifying into iron ore, but is leaning toward purchasing a pure-play miner like Fortescue instead of individual assets being divested by its competitors. Fortescue CEO Elizabeth Gaines, meanwhile, said the company is focused on the long-term sustainability of its core iron ore business.
Glencore previously targeted diversified mining major Rio Tinto in 2014, primarily for its exposure to iron ore. The deal was ultimately nixed, with Glencore at the time saying it was no longer considering the purchase but reserved its right to change its mind.