Cleveland-Cliffs to buy U.S. assets of ArcelorMittal for about $1.4 billionCleveland-Cliffs to buy U.S. assets of ArcelorMittal for about $1.4 billion
Workers stand near the logo of ArcelorMittal at the steel plant in Ghent

(Reuters) – Cleveland-Cliffs Inc, the largest U.S. producer of iron ore pellets, said on Monday it had agreed to buy the U.S. assets of world’s largest steelmaker ArcelorMittal SA for about $1.4 billion.

The deal follows a push among steelmakers to consolidate and diversify their business, making it less vulnerable to swings in demand.

Reuters reported on Sunday, citing sources, that ArcelorMittal was in talks to merge its U.S. operations with Cleveland-Cliffs.

ArcelorMittal said last year it was aiming to offload $2 billion of assets by the middle of 2021 to reduce its debt. In December, it agreed to sell a 50% stake in its shipping business, and has also sold its stake in Brazilian steelmaker Gerdau.

ArcelorMittal’s U.S. business has more than 18,000 employees and 25 facilities, including mines, steelmaking facilities and finishing operations, according to the company’s website.

(Reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)