Africa-focused gold producer Endeavour Mining Corp. and London- and Toronto-listed Centamin PLC agreed to undertake reciprocal due diligence to determine the feasibility of a merger.
In early December, Centamin's board snubbed Endeavour's C$2.52 billion all-share takeover offer, saying it undervalued the target.
Endeavour is hoping to add Centamin's Sukari gold mine in Egypt to its portfolio, which includes the Hounde gold mine in Burkina Faso and the Ity gold mine in Cote d'Ivoire.
Endeavour has until Dec. 31 to lodge a firm offer, but due to the tight schedule, the company requested an extension of the "put up or shut up" deadline.
Endeavour said Dec. 16 that Centamin has not yet consented to the extension request to the Takeover Panel and there is no certainty that it will. The prospective buyer said it will not make an offer by Dec. 31 without the recommendation of Centamin's board.
Endeavour confirmed that it is ready to execute a standstill undertaking that would prevent it from making a firm offer without the recommendation of Centamin's board, although it noted that it has the flexibility to engage with Centamin shareholders while no final decision has been made.