Battle of the billionaires emerging for Atlas

GINA Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting has bought a 19.9% stake in takeover target Atlas Iron.

Battle of the billionaires emerging for Atlas Battle of the billionaires emerging for Atlas Battle of the billionaires emerging for Atlas Battle of the billionaires emerging for Atlas Battle of the billionaires emerging for Atlas

Gina Rinehart at Roy Hill's berth in Port Hedland

A Hancock subsidiary paid A$28.6 million for 846.8 million Atlas shares on Friday, before outlaying another $21 million yesterday for a further 542.1 million shares.

It gives Hancock a 14.97% stake in Atlas.

But like fellow new major shareholder, Andrew Forrest's Fortescue Metals Group, Hancock has a total interest of 19.96% in Atlas via a cash-settled swap over 4.99% of the stock.

FMG acquired a 15% stake in Atlas last week at 4c per share, with a 4.9% interest in shares through a cash-settled swap.

"We do not intend to support the scheme of arrangement between Atlas Iron and Mineral Resources on its current terms, but reserve the right to do so," FMG CEO Elizabeth Gaines said.

"We won't be making any further public comment on this situation u...