A “substantially higher” second bid for Arrium has been lodged by the United Kingdom’s Liberty House/SIMEC in a last-ditch attempt to dislodge the preferred Korean consortium.
But administrators KordaMentha say they are speaking with the preferred bidding team of Newlake Alliance and JB Asset Management on an exclusive basis.
Liberty House said it planned to continue pursuing discussions and pointed out that the process remained subject to final approval from Arrium creditors.
"We would like to confirm that we have submitted a revised bid," the company said.
"The process remains subject to final creditor approval. We remain passionate about the opportunity and intend to continue pursuing discussions."
A spokesman for KordaMentha said the firm was negotiating with the Newlake consortium on an exclusive basis after an exhaustive process run by investment bank Morgan Stanley.
"The deed administrators are dealing with the Korean consortium on an exclusive basis," the spokesman said.
"Morgan Stanley ran a thorough process with the final two bidders on behalf of KordaMentha Restructuring".
The spokesman said Morgan Stanley had recommended the Newlake consortium which the administrators put to the committee of creditors.
"The committee overwhelmingly supported Newlake being chosen as the preferred bidder," the spokesman said. "The only material condition was the provision of an acceptable government support package for Whyalla."
Administrator Mark Mentha said on June 15, when the South Korean consortium was announced as the preferred bidder, there would be negotiations between the administrator, the Korean consortium and the federal government and South Australian government on "investments" in the future of Arrium's operations in Whyalla as they pushed to finalise a sale contract.
Information in this report was published by the Australian Financial Review.