While the process was ugly, the results of HudBay Mineral's dance with Lundin Mining are nothing short of spectacular.
HudBay cut the last ties to a merger that never was late Monday by selling a 96.9 million share block in erstwhile partner Lundin Mining to GMP Securities, which promptly moved the shares to investors.
As a result of this trade, HudBay raised $220-million. It also parted ways with a CEO, and lost proxy and regulatory battles over the Lundin Mining deal.
Now a battered by cash-rich HudBay must figure out what to do with a war chest stocked with $829-million of cash, and a relatively narrowly focused collection of copper and zinc mines. There is some speculation the company will be taken out, though analysts put the odds of an acquisition at less than 25 per cent.
The more likely scenario is that HudBay starts making acquisitions. The new management team - led by CEO Peter Jones, who has a second stint at the helm - has already said they are looking at projects with strong fundamentals and relatively low operating costs.
HudBay is only expected to look at a special dividend or share buy-back as a way to return capital to its owners "once other growth and expansion opportunities are exhausted," said a report Tuesday from TD Securities mining analyst Greg Barnes.
Slightly less than 20 per cent of the block sold by GMP Securities was bought by Lukas Lundin, chairman of Lundin Mining, according to industry sources. Such as purchase would be in keeping with the Lundin family's stake in the company.