Azure Minerals Ltd (ASX: AZS) shares won't be going anywhere on Monday.
However, this could be a good thing given that the lithium industry is a sea of red this morning.
What's going on with Azure Minerals shares?
Azure Minerals shares were placed in a trading halt this morning at the company's request.
According to the release, the lithium explorer has asked for its shares to be paused from trade until Wednesday 25 October pending the release of an announcement.
That announcement looks set to be big news, with the company revealing that it will be "regarding a potential change of control transaction."
No other information has been provided but this usually means that the company has received a takeover approach.
Who wants to acquire Azure Minerals?
There are two immediately obvious candidates that could be the potential suitor of Azure Minerals.
The first is its joint venture partner at the Andover Project, the Creasy Group. At present, Azure Minerals owns 60% of the project, with Creasy Group owning the balance. Could it be interested in taking full ownership of the project?
However, getting a deal over the line wazould be tricky for the Creasy Group. That's because Azure Minerals has a major shareholder that could do what Gina Rinehart did at Liontown Resources Ltd (ASX: LTR) and effectively block any deal from happening.
That brings us to the second candidate: lithium giant Sociedad Quimica y Minr de Chile SA (NYSE: SQM).
It currently owns a 20% stake in Azure Minerals and previously made an offer to acquire the company back in July. Could it be back with an improved offer?
In August, the company revealed:
[Azure Minerals] confirms that it has previously received expressions of interest from Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile S.A. (SQM) regarding a possible change of control transaction involving Azure, the most recent of which was received by Azure on 12 July 2023 and had an indicative offer price of $2.31 cash per Azure share.
With Azure Minerals shares currently trading at $2.44, an offer somewhere close to the $3.00 mark could be on the table based on the usual premiums.
We'll find out later this week.