Source: Premier Spurns Ophir Bid to Forge $5B Oil Group
LONDON, April 27 (Reuters) – Premier Oil has rejected two secret bid approaches from Ophir Energy, which wants to forge a 3 billion pounds ($5 billion) combined oil exploration group, a person with knowledge of the matter said on Sunday.
The latest all-share merger proposal was unanimously turned down by Premier's board a fortnight ago because it was not considered to offer a good strategic fit, according to the source, who asked not to be named because the matter is not public.
Premier and Ophir declined to comment.
Combining Premier and Ophir would create a firm operating from east Africa to Asia to the Falklands. It would be the fifth largest oil and gas explorer listed in London, behind BP, Shell, BG and Tullow Oil.
The Sunday Times, which first reported the takeover approaches, said the companies were likely to make a statement to the stock market on Monday now that the discussions had been publicised.
Ophir, led by former Goldman Sachs banker Nick Cooper, made its first bid approach in February, days after Premier announced that its chief executive Simon Lockett would be stepping down after nine years in the role.
Shares in Premier jumped on news of the departure of Lockett, whom shareholders have held responsible for successive downgrades to production guidance in 2013 and disappointing forecasts for this year.
Premier, which has a market capitalisation of 1.72 billion pounds, was founded in Scotland in 1934 as the Caribbean Oil Company to look for oil and gas in Trinidad.
Ophir, worth 1.44 billion pounds, floated on the London stock market only three years ago and saw its shares jump in 2012 following a significant gas find in Tanzania. ($1 = 0.5948 British Pounds)
(Writing by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Sophie Walker)
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Generated by readers, the comments included herein do not reflect the views and opinions of Rigzone. All comments are subject to editorial review. Off-topic, inappropriate or insulting comments will be removed.
- Britain's Premier Oil To Lift Peak Output At Catcher Field (Aug 23)
- Independents Go Big in North Sea (Jan 03)
- European Oil Producers' Weak Hedging Shows Bet on Price Rebound (Jul 31)
Company: Ophir Energy more info
- Equatorial Guinea LNG Project Stumbles As Schlumberger Quits (May 31)
- Ophir Energy Cuts Cost; Eliminates Staff (Jul 12)
- Tanzania Laws Would Allow Govt to Tear Up Mining, Energy Deals (Jun 29)