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Shareholders approve Kirkland's Detour acquisition

Shareholders have firmly given the nod to Kirkland Lake Gold’s C$4.9 billion (US$3.7 billion) all-scrip acquisition of Canada-based Detour Gold (TSX: DGC).
Shareholders approve Kirkland's Detour acquisition Shareholders approve Kirkland's Detour acquisition Shareholders approve Kirkland's Detour acquisition Shareholders approve Kirkland's Detour acquisition Shareholders approve Kirkland's Detour acquisition

Detour Gold’s improving Detour Lake gold mine in Ontario

Staff reporter

Kirkland Lake (TSX, NYSE: KL; ASX: KLA) said 98.99% of the votes cast at the company's special meeting yesterday were overwhelmingly in favour of the deal.

Separately, an overwhelming majority - 86% of the 77.2% eligible Detour votes cast yesterday - were also in favour.

Kirkland Lake's November offer, which implied $27.50 per Detour share and a 24% premium, had initially been met with a frosty reception which sent Kirkland's shares plunging.  

However top proxy advisory firms backed the deal earlier this month, saying Detour shareholders would benefit from holding a significant stake in a multi-asset gold miner with a more favourable risk profile and significantly lower production costs.
 
"By combining Detour Lake with our Macassa and Fosterville mines, we will have three cornerstone assets in our two core jurisdictions of Canada and Australia, all three of which possess free cash flow generating operations, significant in-mine growth potential, and considerable regional exploration upside," Kirkland CEO Tony Makuch said yesterday.

"The new Kirkland Lake Gold will be an industry leader in profitability, cash flow generation and cash resources.

"Given our significant financial strength, we will become increasingly active over the next year repurchasing our shares and growing our quarterly dividends."

Detour chairman Patrice Merrin said the board believed the transaction valued the improvements made at its Detour Lake gold mine and referred to the company's "impressive growth" under president and CEO Mick McMullen's leadership, during which time its share price nearly doubled.

McMullen was appointed effective May 2019 following Detour's months-long and costly battle with activist investor Paulson & Co which had resulted in a board overhaul in December 2018.
 
Detour's shares have risen from a low of $11.23 in April last year to peak at $26.14 on January 7.

They lost 3.3% yesterday to close at $23.54, putting the company's value at $4.2 billion (US$3.2 billion).

Kirkland's Toronto-listed shares were worth C$38.28 a year ago and rose to $67.88 in August as the gold price strengthened.

They plunged 17% towards the $50 mark on unveiling the acquisition plans in November, recovering slightly since but closing 3.8% yesterday lower on a weaker day for the gold sector to $54.12.

At that price, Kirkland Lake is capitalised at $11.3 billion (US$8.6 billion).

The arrangement, subject to conditions, is expected to be completed on January 31.