Medco To Decide On Raising Novus Bid Early February

PT Medco Energi International will decide early February whether it will raise its takeover offer for Australia's Novus Petroleum Ltd., a Medco senior official said Friday.

"We will decide whether or not we will raise the bid or go ahead with our plan to take over Novus early next month," Medco Finance Director Sugiharto said.

Medco last month launched a surprise A$1.74 a share takeover bid for Novus, valuing it at A$326 million.

Sugiharto said the company is evaluating the timing and pricing for Novus.

The statement came after Novus' management Monday made a counter offer, valuing the company at A$331 million.

Novus' independent directors Friday said talks are continuing with a number of parties that may lead to a rival takeover bid for the Australian energy company.

The independent directors of the mid-sized oil and gas company urged shareholders to reject the hostile takeover bid from Medco, saying the share offer "substantially" undervalues the company.

Earlier this week, an independent expert valued Novus in the range of A$1.96- A$2.75 a share. The expert concluded the Medco offer was neither fair nor reasonable.