Wesfarmers has finally killed off its $1.5 billion takeover tilt at rare earths miner Lynas Corporation.

The conglomerate’s Chief Executive, Rob Scott, said late yesterday that Wesfarmers had been unable to progress a conditional takeover proposal and did not intend to pursue it further.

“Wesfarmers remains focused on delivering value to its shareholders through disciplined capital allocation within our divisions and when considering new investments,” Mr Scott said.

The Lynas tilt was a rare divergence from Wesfarmers’ historic preference for friendly acquisitions. After lobbing its $2.25-a-share proposal in late-March, the group was immediately sent packing by Lynas, which lashed the group as arrogant and Australian-centric.

Wesfarmers was then criticised by Lynas and its shareholders over what was perceived as interference in the Sydney-based company’s activities by meeting with Malaysian officials to discuss the future of Lynas’ processing plant on Malaysia’s east coast.

Lynas has faced political and community opposition because of the low-level radioactive turned out by the plant, which handles concentrate shipped from Lynas’ Mt Weld mine, near Laverton.

As a condition of its licence renewal, Lynas must relocate the contentious part of the processing operation overseas within four years.

Wesfarmers has been more successful with its other targets this year, buying lithium company Kidman Resources for $780 million and online retailer Catch Group for $230 million.


Image: Rob Scott’s Wesfarmers came under fire from Lynas when the offer was lobbed for being arrogant and Australian-centric, The West Australian.