Chilean company Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile (SQM) has signed a binding transaction implementation deed (TID) to acquire all of the shares it does not already own in Australia’s Azure Minerals.

Azure owns a 60% stake in the Andover lithium project in Pilbara, Western Australia. The remaining 40% stake is owned by Creasy Group.

Earlier this year, Azure rejected SQM’s buyout bid that valued the former at A$901.4m. The bid was rejected in light of the increasing potential of its Andover project.

SQM’s non-binding and highly conditional offer was A$2.31 per share.

Under the revised offer, SQM agreed to acquire all of the remaining shares in Azure at an offer price of A$3.52 per share.

The deal implies A$1.63bn ($1.03bn) in fully diluted equity value for Azure, in which SQM already holds a 19.99% interest.

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By GlobalData

The transaction has been unanimously recommended by the Azure board in the absence of a superior proposal.

This deal is, however, contingent upon the conclusion by an independent expert that the takeover offer is reasonable and fair, among others.

Azure managing director Tony Rovira said: “Whilst we firmly believe that Andover has the potential to be a major lithium project, there is significant time, cost and risk associated with developing a project of this scale, particularly in the context of an uncertain broader economic outlook.

“As such, the board believes that the transaction provides Azure shareholders with a compelling opportunity to de-risk their investment and realise certain value at an attractive premium to historical trading levels.”