Liezel Hill and Christopher Donville write for Bloomberg.
A week before Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX) Chairman Peter Munk retires, his successor John Thornton is emerging as a dealmaker as the former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker pursues a bid to combine the two biggest gold miners.
Negotiations between Barrick and Newmont Mining Corp. broke off last week amid minor disagreements while leaving open the possibility that discussions could still resume, two people with knowledge of the matter said April 19.
The deal under discussion would have seen Thornton become executive chairman of the combined company while the chief executive officer would have been Gary Goldberg, who currently leads Newmont, the people said. Toronto-based Barrick’s CEO Jamie Sokalsky would have led a smaller gold producer spun off from the merged company, according to the people.
The proposed tie-up and its management reshuffle confirm Thronton’s elevation as Barrick’s most senior executive (image left added). The 60-year-old, who had no role in the mining industry until he joined the company’s board just over two years ago, is set to succeed Munk, Barrick’s 86-year-old founder, as chairman at the annual shareholders meeting next week. Leading a successful acquisition of Newmont (NEM), in what would be the biggest gold takeover, would set up Barrick to do further deals, including ones involving other commodities.