Why are Azure Minerals shares now suspended?

This lithium explorer is locked in takeover talks.

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Azure Minerals Ltd (ASX: AZS) shares have been out of action this week.

That's because the lithium explorer requested a trading halt on Monday and requested that its shares be paused from trade until today.

However, it seems that two days has not been enough time for the company, with management requesting a suspension this morning.

According to the request, it wants Azure Minerals' shares to stay offline until the start of trade on Friday.

What's going on with Azure Minerals shares?

As we covered here earlier this week, the Western Australia-based lithium explorer requested a trading halt while it responds to the receipt of a takeover approach. It is for the same reason that it has asked for the suspension this morning. It said:

The voluntary suspension is requested as Azure has not concluded discussions regarding a potential change of control transaction.

Who wants to acquire the company?

Azure Minerals has not yet revealed who it is in discussions with.

However, it is worth noting that earlier this year, Sociedad Quimica y Minr de Chile SA (NYSE: SQM) tabled an offer of $2.31 per share to acquire the company. This was rejected by management.

And while it hasn't been confirmed that SQM has returned with another offer, it seems the most likely candidate due to its existing stake of approximately 20%.

As we saw with Gina Rinehart and Liontown Resources Ltd (ASX: LTR), having a stake of that size makes it very difficult for anyone else to successfully acquire a company. That's because 75% of shares need to be voted in favour of the deal.

The big question now is how much is being offered. Given that Azure Minerals shares are currently fetching $2.44, a 30% premium would mean an offer of around $3.17 per share.

But that's just speculation. We'll find out for sure on Friday, all being well.

Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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