Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2006

Arcelor and Mittal Steel

Backroom politicking, a failed white knight and one of the world's richest men all played a role in the third biggest deal of the year. Mittal Steel bid for Arcelor, its next biggest competitor, in January, and was promptly rebuffed. Arcelor — itself the merged product of French, Spanish and Luxembourg companies — turned its nose up at Lakshmi Mittal, the India-born businessman whose wealth is surpassed only by Bill Gates' and Warren Buffett's. Arcelor enlisted Severstal of Russia to intercept. In June, Mittal prevailed by doubling its offer. The $71 billion deal creates a global giant with three times the steel-making capacity of its nearest rival, Nippon Steel.