British newspaper The Guardian has a blog post saying there is speculation that US coal miner Walter Energy Inc. (NYSE: WLT) could be a ripe for a takeover fight among three potential buyers. First, there is Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A; NYSE: BRK-B), then BHP Billiton plc (NYSE: BHP), and finally Anglo American plc (OTC: AAUKY.PK).
That’s quite a lineup of deep-pocketed shoppers and its putting some fire in other coal stocks today. Alpha Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: ANR) is up nearly 5.3%, Peabody Energy Corp. (NYSE: BTU) is up nearly 5%, and Patriot Coal Co. (NYSE: PCX) is up more than 10%. Even the Market Vectors Coal ETF (NYSE: KOL) is up nearly 1.3%.
The same rumors hit the some of the same companies in October when both BHP and Anglo American were said to be interested in acquiring Walter Energy. Nothing happened then, and the same result is likely again. And the same stocks got a nice price bump to go with the rumors then too. This may be the only way coal stocks can post a gain these days.