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Freeport completes final step in 3-way deal

PHOENIX (AP) -- Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. said Monday that it completed the final step of its three-way combination with Plains Exploration & Production Co. and McMoRan Exploration Co.

Freeport bought oil and gas producer Plains for about $6.2 billion in a deal that closed Friday. It said Monday that it has received approval from shareholders at McMoRan to acquire the energy producer and that the deal is now complete.

Freeport-McMoRan will pay around $2.2 billion for the shares of McMoRan that it does not already hold.

The company put the total value of the two transactions at roughly $19 billion, which includes $10 billion in debt, $5.5 billion in cash and 91 million shares of its stock, which was valued at $2.8 billion at the end of May. The acquisitions were controversial when they were announced in December, with discontent among some investors who thought Plains and McMoRan Exploration were too expensive for the copper and gold miner.

Freeport-McMoRan Chairman James Moffett said the deals will enhance the company's natural resource assets, particularly given their exploration and development opportunities.

Under the combined companies, Moffett continue as Chairman of Freeport-McMoRan. Richard Adkerson will continue as president and CEO and has also been appointed vice chairman.

James Flores, former CEO, president and chairman of Plains, was named vice chairman of Freeport-McMoRan and president and CEO of its new subsidiary, Freeport-McMoRan Oil & Gas.

Shares of the Phoenix-based company rose 28 cents to $31.34 in afternoon trading.