DEALTALK-JPMorgan plays the field in Rio/Chinalco saga

miércoles 17 de junio de 2009 04:34 CEST

* JPMorgan advised Rio, then Chinalco, now back with Rio

* Rivals jib at move from Chinalco to Rio underwriter (For more Reuters DEALTALKs, click [DEALTALK/]

By Michael Flaherty and Joseph Chaney

HONG KONG, June 17 (Reuters) - Opportunistic or a testament to its strong ties, balance sheet and global M&A profile?

Of the dozen or so banks involved in miner Rio Tinto's (RIO.AX: Cotización)(RIO.L: Cotización) year-long takeover saga, only JPMorgan (JPM.N: Cotización) has served three different roles to two separate clients.

JPMorgan showed its muscle as it switched sides during the Rio deal, but also raised some eyebrows.

The bank's swift move from advising Chinese client Chinalco on its $19.5 billion offer for Rio assets and a doubling of its stake in the miner to helping Rio underwrite a bumper rights issue has prompted rival bankers to query JPMorgan's loyalties.

The New York bank, Rio's corporate broker in London via affiliate JPMorgan Cazenove, advised the Anglo-Australian miner in fending off a hostile bid by rival BHP Billiton (BLT.L: Cotización) (BHP.AX: Cotización) that collapsed late last year.

It then gained a last-minute advisory role for Aluminum Corp of China (Chinalco), helping the state-backed metals company as it sought to buy into Rio Tinto.   Continuación...