The Liontown Resources Ltd (ASX: LTR) share price was on form and thoroughly outperformed the market and peers in September.
During the month, the lithium developer's shares jumped 13.5%.
Why did the Liontown share price outperform?
While Liontown has not quite accepted this offer yet, it was enough to grant due diligence access to Albemarle. It also revealed that it would be willing to accept a deal at this price if it became binding, subject to an independent expert's report.
Since the offer has been tabled, Gina Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting business has been snapping up as many shares as it can for under $3 per share.
This initially sparked hopes that a bidding war was about to break out between Albemarle and Rinehart. However, it still remains unclear what Hancock Prospecting's true motive is.
But what we do know is that it is a big fan of the company's Kathleen Valley Lithium Project and sees it "as a significant lithium asset."
However, it seems that Hancock Prospecting doesn't rate Liontown's management too highly and appears to want some control over the project's development. It commented:
Hancock can provide Liontown with the opportunity to manage its project execution and operational ramp-up risks where it is of value – and particularly in light of the inflationary market pressures that are creating challenges for project delivery across Australia.
It then added in its most recent update:
Liontown's update to the ASX earlier today reinforces Hancock's previous observations that the project faces significant execution, operational ramp-up and market risks. […] Only last month, Liontown stated that it was proceeding with a Direct Shipping Ore (DSO) product to provide an early source of revenue from the project, describing the economics as compelling. Today, Liontown put DSO on hold indefinitely due to declining lithium prices.
As of today, Rinehart has increased her stake in Liontown to almost 15%.
Time will tell what happens from here. But it's quite likely that this story is only just beginning, so stay tuned for that.