Australian mining giant BHP Billiton has launched a fresh $US40 billion hostile takeover bid for the Canada's Potash Corporation.
Potash Corporation, the world's largest fertiliser producer, rejected BHP's earlier unsolicited $US38 billion bid as "grossly inadequate" given Potash's prospects.
Ratings agency Moody's has said if BHP launched a formal bid largely funded by debt, its long-term A1 rating is likely to be placed on review for possible downgrade. Senior Moody's vice-president Terry Fanous said the rating would not fall below A2.
Demand for fertiliser is expected to increase this year because of rising demand for meat in emerging markets, as more crops are needed to feed cattle.