US Steel puts itself up for sale after receiving unsolicited bids

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US Steel, a corporate vestige from the era of American industrialists Andrew Carnegie and JP Morgan, has put itself up for sale, saying on Sunday it has hired financial advisers to evaluate bids for the company.

The company said it has already received multiple unsolicited bids that ranged from the possible acquisition of the whole company to specific assets. The board has started a review process with outside financial and legal advisers to evaluate strategic alternatives for the company.

US Steel cautioned its efforts might not culminate in a deal and said it wouldn’t be commenting further on the possible sale.

The announcement comes two weeks after chief executive David Burritt touted the company’s strength and thanked Washington for passing the US Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which provided billions of dollars for clean energy manufacturing.

“I’d say the IRA is misnamed. It’s a Manufacturing Renaissance Act,” Burritt said. “We applaud those that made it happen, and we look forward to the tailwinds we believe it will provide for the steel industry for years to come.”

“I hope you can hear the excitement in my voice when I discuss these global trends, deglobalisation, decarbonisation and how they align with US Steel strategy,” he added.

“These are long-term tailwinds that will provide uplift as we execute our strategic transformation to being a less cost-intensive, less capital-intensive and less carbon-intensive business. The path to value creation is clear,” Burritt said.

Pittsburgh-based US Steel has been a symbol of US manufacturing since it was formed in 1901. Financier JP Morgan bought it from Carnegie and combined it with a rival to form “the nucleus” of the company.

The company says that its steel helped build Chicago’s Willis Tower and the United Nations Building in New York, as well as supplying hundreds of millions of tonnes of steel for the US military during world war two.

But US Steel has struggled in recent years. Its share price is down 24 per cent from five years ago and lags an S&P materials benchmark index. 

The company has rapidly transitioned its production to include more electric arc furnace steelmaking while closing inefficient and higher-emitting blast furnaces, according to an August 7 report from S&P. US Steel has a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 20 per cent by 2030, S&P said.

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