By Maximilian Clarke

Anglo American Plc (LSE: AAL) have today (Friday) announced their intent to acquire the Oppenheimer family’s 40% stake in DeBeers.

The transaction, vaued at $5.1bn, would see the London-headquartered mining giant boost its shares in the world’s biggest diamond company to 85%.

“This transaction is a unique opportunity for Anglo American to consolidate control of the world’s leading diamond company — De Beers,” commented Cynthia Carroll, Anglo American’s Chief Executive. “Today’s announcement marks our commitment to an industry with highly attractive long term supply and demand fundamentals.

“Underpinned by the security of supply offered by a new 10-year sales agreement with our partner, the Government of the Republic of Botswana, this forms a compelling proposition. De Beers’ management team has led the business successfully through the financial crisis and into a stable position and it is now well placed for the future, with improving performance throughout 2011. I believe that the benefits brought by Anglo American’s scale, technical, operational and exploration expertise and financial resources, combined with the unquestionable leadership of De Beers’ business and iconic brand will enable De Beers to enhance its position across the diamond pipeline and capture the potential presented by a rapidly evolving diamond market.”

The transaction is expected to be accretive to underlying earnings before depreciation and amortisation on fair value adjustments in the year of acquisition. The transaction does not alter the existing arrangements for the management of De Beers, including Mr N F Oppenheimer’s position as chairman, prior to completion. Mr P Mellier will continue as CEO of De Beers.

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