Anglo American acquired an additional 40% interest in De Beers for $5.1 billion, increasing its current 45% shareholding in the world’s leading diamond company to up to 85%.

Anglo American has been the company’s largest shareholder since De Beers became a private company in 2001 and as a longstanding shareholder in De Beers prior to that. De Beers’ geographically diverse portfolio comprises large scale, low cost mining assets with proven distribution, sales and marketing capabilities and further potential from its leading pipeline of greenfield and brownfield projects and an expanding consumer-facing footprint. Anglo American believes it is well positioned to enhance the value of De Beers through its expertise and scale in such areas as technical, supply chain and financial management functions as part of a simplified and more integrated ownership structure.

“This transaction is a unique opportunity for Anglo American to consolidate control of the world’s leading diamond company–De Beers,” said Cynthia Carroll, CEO, Anglo American. “This marks our commitment to an industry with highly attractive long term supply and demand fundamentals. Underpinned by the security of supply offered by a new 10-year sales agreement with our partner, the Government of the Republic of Botswana, this forms a compelling proposition. De Beers’ management team has led the business successfully through the financial crisis and into a stable position and it is now well placed for the future, with improving performance throughout 2011.”

Representing the Oppenheimer family interests, Nicky Oppenheimer explained that this has been a momentous and difficult decision as my family has been in the diamond industry for more than 100 years and part of De Beers for over 80 years. “After careful and deliberate consideration of the offer, and what is in the best interests of the family, we unanimously agreed to accept Anglo American’s offer. Anglo American is the natural home for our stake as they have been major shareholders in De Beers since 1926 and have a deep knowledge of the diamond business. I am certain that Anglo American will provide strong support to Philippe Mellier and the De Beers management team.”

De Beers, established in 1888, is the world’s leading diamond company with unrivalled expertise in the exploration, mining and marketing of diamonds. Together with its joint venture partners, De Beers operates in more than 20 countries employing more than 16,000 people, and is the world’s leading diamond producer with mining operations across Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Canada.