New Offer for U.S. Steel Sets Up Bidding Contest

Esmark's $7.8 billion offer topped an earlier overture from rival Cleveland-Cliffs.

I Stock 1211064600

NEW YORK (AP) — Industrial conglomerate Esmark said Monday it has made an all-cash offer to buy U.S. Steel that values the iconic steelmaker at $7.8 billion, topping an earlier offer from rival Cleveland-Cliffs.

On Sunday, U.S. Steel said it had rejected a cash and stock offer from Cleveland-Cliffs that was valued at $7.3 billion as of the close of trading Friday. U.S. Steel also said it had received offers for all or parts of the company from several parties and was evaluating its options.

Pittsburgh-based Esmark is run by James Bouchard, a former vice president in U.S. Steel's European operations. In an interview, Bouchard said he is interested in modernizing U.S. Steel and keeping the company under American ownership.

Besides its steel-producing and distribution business, privately held Esmark has operations in aviation, oil and gas exploration, real estate and other industries.

Cleveland-Cliffs is the largest producer of flat-rolled steel and iron in North America. Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel has been a symbol of industrialization since it was founded in 1901 by J.P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie and others, though its stock price has languished in recent years as steel prices have fluctuated.

In Monday trading on Wall Street, U.S. Steel shares soared 36.8% to close at $31.08. Cleveland-Cliffs shares rose 8.8% to $15.98.

More in Mergers & Acquisitions