BHP Billiton May Consider Deals Within A Year

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Just days after saying it would probably not engage in large mergers and acquisitions this year, opting to invest $80 billion to expand its own mines and oil and gas fields, BHP Billiton, the world's largest mining company, could once again take a look at deals within a year.

On the ''Inside Business'' program on the Australia Broadcasting Corp., BHP CEO Marius Kloppers said ''cycles change'' and that things could change in ''six months' time or a year's time'' while pointing to the oil and gas market as a place where BHP (BHP) could explore acquisition opportunities.

As has been previously documented, BHP's fortunes with large-scale mergers and acquisitions activity have not been good recently. The company was forced to scrap a deal for Rio Tinto (RIO), the world's third-largest mining company, in 2008 at the height of the financial crisis. In 2010, the Canadian government forced BHP to abandon its $38.6 billion hostile bid for Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan (POT).

BHP and Rio were also forced to scuttle a multi-billion dollar iron ore joint venture in Australia last year due to anti-competitive concerns. BHP, one of the largest operators in the Gulf of Mexico, has previously rumored to be interested in acquiring Anadarko Petroleum (APC) and Australia's Woodside Petroleum.