Alpha Natural Resources, the third-largest U.S. coal producer, and Arch Coal are said to be the most legitimate rivals in pursuit of Massey Energy, the largest coal producer in central Appalachia, according to the Wall Street Journal. Sources familiar with the matter believe Massey will make a decision by the end of January regarding a sale.
Virginia-based Alpha Natural (ANR) has been reported to have had the most advanced talks with Massey up to this point. Arcelor Mittal (MT), the world's largest steelmaker, has also been rumored to be a suitor for Massey though its advances are less aggressive than those of Arch or Alpha Natural, the Journal reported.
Officials from Arch Coal (ACI) and Alpha Natural have been visiting Massey (MEE) facilities in recent days, according to the Journal.
Massey has also been rumored to be a potential buyer of another coal company, but sources familiar with the matter see that possibility diminishing and if the company were to make a move it would be to either sell itself or remain independent. Flooding in Australia, which has crimped supplies of metallurgical coal, have made Virginia-based Massey an even more attractive target in recent weeks.