From: Reuters
Published December 8, 2007 08:14 AM

Brazil's Vale said to be looking at Xstrata bid

LONDON (Reuters) - Brazilian miner Vale <VALE5.SA>, formerly known as CVRD, has hired bankers to consider a bid for UK-listed rival Xstrata <XTA.L> possibly worth more than 38 billion pounds ($77 billion), UK newspapers said on Saturday.

Consolidation is sweeping the global mining industry, and Xstrata's shares jumped on Friday on speculation it could be a target.

The Times newspaper, citing a source close to the process, said Vale's interest was at an early stage and no decision had been made about approaching the Xstrata board with a bid.

The Financial Times said Vale had hired Lehman Brothers to look at a move.

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Anglo American <AAL.L> was cited as a possible predator for Xstrata on Friday but the Times said it was not contemplating an offer, citing a source close to the matter.

A spokeswoman for Xstrata declined to comment. Vale could not immediately be reached.

BHP Billiton <BLT.L> last month made a $120 billion takeover proposal for Rio Tinto <RIO.L>, which has rejected the move. BHP wants to forge a mega-mining group with a market capitalization of around $350 billion and control of much of the world's iron ore, copper and aluminum.

(Reporting by Steve Slater, editing by Anthony Barker)

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