MINING FINANCE / INVESTMENT
Friedland categorically denies selling Ivanhoe stake
Ivanhoe's chairman said there was no truth to the story that he had put his 23% stake in the company up for sale
TORONTO (Reuters) -
Ivanhoe Mines (IVN.TO) said on Thursday there was no truth to a story that says its chairman, Robert Friedland, had put his 23 percent founder's stake in the company up for sale.
Last week, Ivanhoe said it had hired investment bankers from Citigroup (C.N) and mining-sector specialist Hatch Corporate Finance to evaluate a range of strategic options to further enhance shareholder value.
On Thursday, Ivanhoe denied Friedland was selling his stake, as reported by Dow Jones Newswires in a story that cited unnamed sources.
"I am surprised that the Dow Jones organization would publish an imaginary story using only anonymous sources and making no effort whatsoever to contact me to establish whether or not the story was true," Friedland said in a statement.
However, Dow Jones stood by its story and a spokesman for the company said, "Our story speaks for itself."
Ivanhoe said Citi and Hatch are assisting its management to evaluate a range of options during coming months.
The options include offering new shares or bonds, borrowing money or selling a subsidiary, as well as "various corporate transactions." The company, which also has stakes in smaller mine developers, stressed that no specific deal was under consideration.
Colorful dealmaker Robert Friedland made a fortune selling the undeveloped Voisey's Bay nickel-copper deposit in Eastern Canada to Inco in 1996 for C$4.3 billion. Inco has since been bought by Brazil's Vale (VALE5.SA).
Shares of Ivanhoe were down 2.4 percent at C$17.22 in afternoon trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday.
($1=$1.03 Canadian) (Reporting by Euan Rocha; Editing by Frank McGurty)