Canada's Barrick Gold is considering a hostile bid for Newmont Mining for about $19 billion in stock, in what would potentially be one of the largest-ever mining deals, the country's Globe and Mail newspaper reported.
The paper, which also reported that Barrick would flip some of Newmont's assets to Australia's Newcrest Mining, cited industry sources familiar with the situation.
Under the potential terms, Barrick would keep Newmont's Nevada and African mines, while Newcrest was considering taking over its Australian operations, according to the report.
Barrick, which spent $6.1 billion on buying rival Randgold Resources last month, has formed new management teams and cut administrative costs as part of new Chief Executive Mark Bristow's plan to set the combined company firmly apart from peers.
Bristow had said on a post-earnings call that Barrick Gold would continue to look at opportunities for mergers or acquisitions.
Barrick and U.S. company Newmont have long been touted as a potential match, as they have plenty of overlap around their North American operations, said an Australia-based banker.
"(But) there's a danger that Barrick is biting off more than it can chew (by making another large acquisition)," he said, declining to be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue.
Without such a deal, Barrick could cede its crown as the world's largest gold producer to Newmont, which is due to close its $10 billion buyout of smaller rival Goldcorp next quarter.
If Barrick were to be successful, the merger between Newmont and Goldcorp would not go ahead, and Barrick would be liable for a $650 million break fee, the newspaper reported.
Bloomberg reported on Thursday that Barrick had studied a bid for Newmont as it looks for ways to boost production, citing people familiar with the matter.
Newmont declined a request from Reuters for comment, while Barrick did not immediately respond to request for comment.
A Newcrest spokesperson said the firm did not comment on M&A speculation. Goldcorp was not immediately available for comment.