The Hancock Corporation, Hancock Prospecting’s wholly‐owned subsidiary, has launched an all‐cash offer worth up to $591m to acquire the remaining shares in Australian coal explorer Riversdale Resources.

Hancock proposes to acquire the 80.2% stake in Riversdale, in which it currently owns 19.8% of issued shares, at a price of $2.20 per share.

If Hancock’s control over the company exceeds 50% on a diluted basis prior to the closing of the offer, the company will increase the offer price to $2.50 per share, as detailed in its bidder’s statement.

Hancock, which has more than $3bn in cash reserves, acquired the company in August last year for $68.9m.

Hancock Prospecting executive director Jay Newby said: “On behalf of Hancock Prospecting and Hancock Corporation, we are delighted to provide the shareholders of Riversdale with this all-cash offer.

“The directors of Hancock consider that its premium pricing and low conditionality make it a compelling opportunity for Riversdale shareholders. All shareholders are encouraged to accept the offer at their earliest opportunity.”

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“All shareholders are encouraged to accept the offer at their earliest opportunity.”

Unless Hancock extends or withdraws the offer in accordance with the Corporations Act, it will be open for acceptance by Riversdale shareholders for one month.

Hancock Prospecting, in a joint venture with Rio Tinto, holds a 50% interest in the 46mtpa Hope Downs Project. The company also holds a 70% interest in the Roy Hill iron ore project.

Last year, the company acquired Atlas Iron, and also has various iron ore exploration projects in the Pilbara, including its Mulga Downs project.