Rio says not yet. Rio Tinto Group, the world’s third- largest mining company, rejected a sweetened $147 billion offer from BHP Billiton Ltd. because it “significantly” undervalues the iron-ore and copper producer. — Huffington Post

Your turn now, BHP. It’s BHP Billiton’s move again. Rio Tinto on Wednesday morning rejected its rival’s $147 billion revised offer, saying yet again that it undervalues Rio Tinto. If BHP decides to go ahead, its bid — 3.4 BHP shares per Rio share — would be the second-largest hostile offer on record. When BHP, based in Melbourne, Australia, first announced its second offer, up from 3 BHP shares per Rio share, Rio urged shareholders to wait until its board had made a formal decision. Now, it appears they have. — DealBook, NYT

Would Rio really be better off? BHP Billiton (NYSE: BHP) raised its bid for fellow metals company Rio Tinto (NYSE: RTP) from three shares to Rio’s one to 3.4 shares. RTP never made a counter to the original offer. It simply said it was too low. BHP management says it can get $3.4 billion in cost savings and revenue gains out of a business combination. “It’s a lot fairer than the offer we’ve had before, (but) it’s by no means a knock-out offer,” said Bertie Thomson, a fund manager at Aberdeen Asset Management according to Reuters. RTP shares are up over 100% during the last year. Fellow metals company Alcoa (NYSE: AA) shares are only up 5%. It would be hard to make the case that Rio Tinto is that much better off. RTP trades at almost six times revenue. — Douglas McIntyre, BloggingStocks

Banks help BHP out in time of need. So it turns out banks do have plenty of funds to lend, if you are trying to pull off one of the biggest deals in history. BHP Billiton upped its hostile bid 13 percent for Rio Tinto to $147.4 billion, backed by $55 billion in bank loans. The purchase would be the world’s second-largest takeover behind Vodafone’s $172-billion purchase of Mannesmann in 1999. The risk of a bidding war looms with Rio’s largest shareholder, which Chinese state-run aluminum group Aluminum Corp of China (Chinalco) became last week. Some analysts doubted the sweetened bid would be enough to win Rio and create the world’s third-richest company, ranked behind only Exxon Mobil and General Electric. — Chris Kaufman, Reuters Daily Briefing

BHP asks: What credit crunch? In markets like these, it sure helps to be an investment-grade credit with a good story to tell about industrial logic (a projected $3.7 billion in synergies) and global economic trends (rising demand for resources from developing economies). — Corporate Dealmaker

Peter Fray

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