Shares of Mosaic Co. jumped 5 percent Thursday on the heels of a published report saying it could be part of a consortium of buyers for Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan, a giant fertilizer company.

The Globe and Mail of Toronto reported that Potash Corp. is working to assemble a Chinese-led consortium to back a leveraged buyout with its senior management, all to fend off a hostile $39 billion bid by BHP Billiton Ltd.

The plan would include significant capital from a Chinese resource company or investment fund, which would be combined with smaller contributions from financial players like pension funds and "strategic partners" like Mosaic, the newspaper reported, citing anonymous sources.

Plymouth-based Mosaic declined to comment. Mosaic, which is 64 percent owned by Cargill Inc., is North America's second-largest fertilizer producer.

Its stock closed Thursday $60.55, up $2.96, on a day the broader market as measured by the S&P 500 index was down slightly.