WILMINGTON, DEL., NOV. 18 -- T. Boone Pickens withdrew his takeover bid for Newmont Mining Co. today after the Delaware Supreme Court upheld a ruling blocking the buyout.
Ivanhoe Partners, a Pickens-led investment group, said in a prepared statment it "is withdrawing its cash tender offer for 28 million common shares of Newmont Corp."
Ivanhoe, based in Amarillo, Tex., will return any tendered shares to shareholders, the statement said.
In Delaware Chancery Court, Ivanhoe challenged the legality of maneuvers by Newmont's largest stockholder, Consolidated Gold Fields PLC, in which the British company raised its stake in the company from 26.2 percent to 49.9 percent.
Consolidated, which supported Newmont management in the battle, bought 15.8 million Newmont shares in a two-day "street sweep" in September.
In ruling today, the Delaware court said Newmont had the power and duty to oppose Ivanhoe's tender offer and that the defensive measures were reasonable considering the threats posed.
"The board acted to meet them in the proper exercise of its sound business judgment," the court said, adding that Newmont's moves to stop the "inadequate, coercive" Ivanhoe offer were legitimate.
Michael Goldman, who represented Newmont, said today that the decision was a "tremendous victory on all points. The board feels it was fully vindicated."
Charles Richards, Ivanhoe's attorney, said he was disappointed by the decision.
The Ivanhoe group made a hostile takeover offer of $72 a share for 28 million of Newmont's 66.8 million common shares. The move would have boosted Ivanhoe's holdings to 51 percent of Newmont.
Ivanhoe extended its tender offer several times while the state's highest court considered the matter. Delaware has jurisdiction in the takeover fight because Newmont is incorporated there.
The partnership is under an injunction from a federal appeals court in San Franciso that prohibits it from making any move toward gaining control of Newmont.