Hancock Prospecting, which is chaired by Gina Rinehart, has bought out a major 7.72 per cent stake in Liontown, just two weeks after Liontown’s board recommended its shareholders accept Albemarle’s takeover offer.
Hancock Prospecting has interests in iron ore and lithium operations around the country and a long-established presence in WA.
In a statement made on Monday, Hancock cited a number of risks for Liontown’s flagship Kathleen Valley lithium project, including resource conversion, construction execution and metallurgical recovery.
“This shareholding provides Hancock with a strategic stake in Liontown, giving Liontown the opportunity to leverage Hancock’s expertise where it is of value to support the project’s development and subsequent operations,” Hancock said.
Hancock indicated its intention to work alongside other Liontown shareholders, like Albemarle, in steering the company’s future. Hancock also expressed an interest in exploring potential investment opportunities with shareholders for downstream lithium processing in WA.
The twist comes two weeks after Liontown’s board told shareholders to accept Albemarle’s $6.6 billion takeover offer.
Albemarle, the world’s largest lithium producer, has been trying to add the Liontown feather to its cap since October 2022 when it attempted an offer of $2.20 per share. This was followed by a flurry of offers in March, one at $2.35 per share, the other $2.50. Both were rejected.
But the lithium giant was right on the money with its latest $3.00 per share offer.
This means that company chairman and majority stakeholder Tim Goyder has also backed the deal.
When Liontown shareholders vote on the takeover, Hancock will have its say over the future of the company.
Liontown is now trading around $3.02 per share, just above Albemarle’s offer.