"This acquisition is consistent with our growth plan, and BlackRock's assets are an excellent fit with our Peace River in situ assets," said Clive Mather, Shell Canada's President and CEO. "This acquisition will augment our overall oil sands portfolio. It will add 12,000 to 14,000 barrels per day of heavy oil production and provide Shell Canada with access to significant additional resources."
"In addition, BlackRock has built a strong and talented team to execute its various projects, so we will work to retain as many BlackRock employees and contractors as possible," said Mather.
John Festival, President, BlackRock Ventures said, "We recognized that the tremendous potential identified on our properties outstripped our financial and operational ability to develop them in a timely manner. Shell is a logical operator of our assets due to the strategic fit with their own operations. In addition, Shell has a long history of innovations and technical excellence in Canada and will capitalize on the true potential of our properties. I would like to thank the directors, employees and contractors who all helped build BlackRock into a multi-billion dollar company from our humble beginnings seven years ago. We should all be proud of this accomplishment."
The agreement provides that BlackRock will pay Shell Canada a non- completion fee of $65 million in certain circumstances. The agreement includes customary non-solicitation covenants and BlackRock has reserved the right to respond to superior proposals. Shell Canada also has the right to match superior proposals under terms of the agreement. The Board of Directors of BlackRock has unanimously approved the transaction and concluded that the transaction is in the best interests of the BlackRock shareholders. In addition, the Board of Directors has unanimously resolved to recommend that all BlackRock shareholders tender their common shares to Shell Canada's offer.
In connection with Shell Canada's offer, certain shareholders, all of the directors and officers of BlackRock have entered into lock-up agreements with Shell Canada pursuant to which they have agreed to tender all of their common shares to the offer, subject to certain exceptions, representing in the aggregate 23 million common shares or 21 per cent of the issued and outstanding common shares of BlackRock calculated on a fully-diluted basis.
Full details of the Shell Canada offer will be included in a take-over bid circular and related documents which will be filed with securities regulators and mailed to BlackRock shareholders.
The offer is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary conditions contained in the formal offer documents, including the tendering of at least two-thirds of BlackRock's outstanding common shares on a fully- diluted basis.
Shell Canada will fund its all-cash take-over bid by using cash and short-term debt facilities.
CIBC World Markets Inc. acted as financial advisor to Shell Canada on this transaction.
BlackRock's financial advisor, RBC Capital Markets and GMP Securities L.P., have each provided an opinion indicating that the consideration under Shell Canada's offer is fair from a financial point of view to the shareholders of BlackRock.
Shell Canada is a large Canadian integrated petroleum company with three major businesses. Exploration & Production explores for, produces and markets natural gas and natural gas liquids. Oil Sands is responsible for an integrated bitumen mining and upgrading operation in the Athabasca area of Alberta and the company's Peace River in situ bitumen business. Oil Products manufactures, distributes and markets refined petroleum products across Canada.
BlackRock Ventures is an oil sands producer with operations located exclusively in Canada. The Company's strategy is to build shareholder value by pursuing full-cycle exploration and development opportunities in heavy oil in western Canada. Current operations are located in three heavy-oil regions: the Peace River oil sands, the Cold Lake oil sands and the Lloydminster area. Over the next five years, BlackRock's growth is anticipated to come from continued development of the Seal area in northern Alberta and construction of the Orion SAGD project at Hilda Lake, Alberta.
This release does not constitute an offer to purchase or a solicitation of an offer to sell securities.
BlackRock shareholders are advised to review the circular and any other relevant documents to be filed with the Canadian securities regulatory authorities because they will contain important information. Those materials will be mailed to BlackRock shareholders at no expense to them. In addition, investors will be able to obtain the documents free of charge through the System for Electronic Document Analysis and Retrieval (SEDAR) at www.sedar.com or by contacting Shell Canada Secretary at corporatesecretary(at)shell.com or facsimile 403-691-3914.
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