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Freeport-McMoRan closes $6.2B deal for Plains

PHOENIX (AP) -- Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. said Friday that it completed its acquisition of U.S. oil and gas producer Plains Exploration & Production Co. for about $6.2 billion as it seeks to create a global natural resources conglomerate.

The Phoenix-based miner is also acquiring McMoRan Exploration Co., an energy producer in the Gulf of Mexico, for $2.1 billion. The deal is expected to close next week. The acquisitions were controversial when originally announced in December, with discontent from some investors who thought they were too expensive for the copper and gold miner.

Freeport-McMoRan had sweetened the terms of its Plains Exploration acquisition earlier this month to entice shareholders to vote for the deal. Plains shareholders on Friday received a special dividend of $3, and Freeport-McMoRan shareholders will get a special dividend of $1, to be paid on July 1.

Freeport-McMoRan paid Plains shareholders $3.3 billion in cash and 91 million in company stock, worth about $2.9 billion based on the closing price of its stock Thursday. Including the assumption of $9.7 billion of Plains debt and the $3 dividend, the companies valued the deal at about $16.3 billion.

As part of the agreement, Freeport-McMoRan on Friday named Plains' former CEO, Chairman and President, James Flores, and two other Plains directors to its board.

Freeport-McMoRan shares fell 21 cents to $31.63 in morning trading. Houston-based Plains' shares will cease trading at the end of Friday's session.