BHP
Billiton almost certainly has unconditional control of WMC Resources
after another 13.35% of the target company’s shares were pledged to the
bidder yesterday. This lifted BHP Billiton’s stake to 42.81% directly
and 47.12% when you include the additional 4.31% stake held through
cash-settled derivative contracts.

The flow of increases over the past seven trading days has been as follows, with the daily increase in brackets:

26 May: 3.53%
27 May: 5.20% (1.67%)
30 May: 6.69% (1.49%)
31 May: 13.33% (6.64%)
1 June: 16.35% (3.02%)
2 June: 29.46% (13.11%)
3 June: 42.81% (13.35%)

The
bid closes at 7:30pm tonight, and after two days of more than 13% it
would be very surprising if BHP can’t muster 2.88% in the final 24
hours to reach the 50% threshhold which then makes the bid
unconditional and triggers another two-week extension.

With the
market taking off and BHP Billiton shares rising 32c yesterday and a
further 10c to $17.27 this morning, some WMC shareholders might hold
out and prevent the Big Australian from reaching 90% and compulsory
acquisition. WMC Resources is up 2c to the BHP bid price of $7.85,
suggesting the market now believes there is virtually no risk of the
bid lapsing.