Mine craft: why BHP’s strategic overhaul could help repel a hedge fund predator

BHP’s new image could appeal to the patriotism of its Australian shareholders and help rebuff Elliott Advisors’ advances

It’s been a big week for BHP Billiton. For one thing, it’s not even called that any more. As part of its “Think Big” rebranding theme, the world’s biggest mining company opted to shed the Billiton moniker it acquired in a 2001 merger with a Dutch-South African company and revert to its previous true-blue Aussie name.

BHP says the rebranding – complete with TV ads about how seven ordinary blokes in the outback founded what is now a global business worth $A94bn (£54bn) – is part of a long-term plan started 18 months ago to reconnect with communities. “The timing now is good but we don’t look at it as an event,” the company’s chief external affairs officer, Geoff Healy, says. “This is a clean brand change for the company.”

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