Barrick Gold in advanced $18 billion merger talks with Randgold Resources

Barrick Gold is allegedly in late stage talks to acquire Africa-focused rival Randgold Resources in a deal that will protect the Canadian miner’s position as the world’s top gold producer.

The news was first broken by mining blog site IKN, who initially reported that an announcement may come before the opening bell on Monday. The deal, valued at US$18 billion, was later said to be imminent by a source familiar with the negotiations.

A source also said the Randgold’s chief executive Mark Bristow will become CEO of the merged company. Barrick does not currently have a president after Kelvin Dushinsky left to join AngloGold Ashanti.

However, the deal could still breakdown if parties fall to agree on terms. Andy Lloyd, a spokesman for Barrick, and Kathy du Plessis, a spokeswoman for Randgold declined to comment.

For Barrick, a merger would help boost output after gold production fell to 5.3 million ounces last year. Barrick could also benefit from Randgold’s experience in Africa’s often volatile mining sector.

Barrick’s subsidiary firm Acacia Mining has been embroiled in a bitter dispute with the Tanzanian government over alleged under-reporting of gold export revenues, which invoked the government to hand the company a US$190 billion tax bill.