Paladin Energy shares on ice as fission-powered acquisition rumours grow

It looks like Paladin is about to go shopping…

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The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) is having a pretty nasty start to the trading week so far this Monday. At the time of writing, the ASX 200 has tanked by around 0.75%, dragging the index down to just under 7,740 points.

But perhaps mercifully, Paladin Energy Ltd (ASX: PDN) shares aren't joining the pity party today.

This ASX 200 uranium stock closed at $13.24 a share last week, and that's where the shares remain today. This morning, Paladin announced that its shares would be placed in a trading halt, with immediate effect, until the company makes a further announcement or until the morning of this coming Wednesday, 26 June.

This announcement was vague in detail, as is often the case for the first states of a trading halt. However, Paladin did admit that the coming announcement will relate to "a potential acquisition".

That's all we know for sure right now, as there has been no other official news or announcements out of Paladin at the time of writing.

However, there are some rumours swirling around that could give us a fair idea of what might be going on with Paladin shares today.

Paladin shares halted as ASX uranium stock looks for acquisitions

Paladin is arguably primed to make an acquisition. The company's shares have gained an astonishing 80% or so over the past 12 months alone, a gain that has swelled to 122.5% over the past two years. With the company now commanding a market capitalisation of almost $4 billion, it certainly would have a lot of financial firepower to deploy for an acquisition by issuing new shares.

As reported by the Australian Financial Review (AFR) this morning, that is exactly what Paladin has in mind. The AFR names Fission Uranium Corp (TSE: FCU) as a likely target for Paladin.

The article points out that Fission Uranium is "right in [Paladin's] backyard", given its flagship Patterson Lake South Project is located in Canada's Athabasca Basin.

The company would also be in Paladin's acquisition range, given its current market capitalisation of C$863.9 million ($950.22 million).

Like Paladin, Fission Uranium has also had a stellar time on the Toronto Stock Exchange over recent years. Its shares have boomed 77.6% over the past 12 months.

But until Paladin issues some confirmations, we can't be sure it is Fission Uranium that the company has set its eye on. The AFR also names the ASX-listed Boss Energy Ltd (ASX: BOE) as another potential target. However, Boss would be a much bigger target for Paladin to hunt, given its current worth of $1.7 billion.

Either way, it will be interesting to see what Paladin has to say this week when it finally lays out its plans.

Motley Fool contributor Sebastian Bowen 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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