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Timing is everything. Just ask Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. In March 2007, the mega-mining company pulled off an extraordinary merger with a much larger mining company, one that required financing the $18.5 billion cash component of the total $26 billion acquisition price to buy Phelps Dodge Corp. “We moved quickly and seized the moment,” says Kathleen Quirk, executive vice president and CFO of Phoenix-based Freeport-McMoRan.

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