KNOC Declares Dana Offer Unconditional

SEOUL (Dow Jones Newswires), Sep. 24, 2010

Korea National Oil Corp. said Friday it controls a majority stake in Dana Petroleum and declared its 1800 pence-a-share takeover offer for the oil exploration company wholly unconditional, putting the South Korean firm on the verge of closing its GBP1.87 billion hostile takeover attempt.

KNOC, which made the takeover offer for the Aberdeen, Scotland-based firm on Aug. 20, said in a regulatory filing that it either owns or has received valid acceptances for about 64.26% of Dana's shares as of 1:00 PM London Time on Thursday, the initial closing date of its share offer.

The firm has waived the 90% acceptance requirement that it initially set and has extended the offer for Dana's shares until further notice. KNOC said in a separate e-mail statement that it intends to take Dana private should it own or have valid acceptances for more than a 75% stake.

The announcement comes a day after the U.K. competition authority Thursday gave its approval of the deal, removing a potential obstacle to the hostile bid made by the South Korean state-owned oil company.

A Dana spokesman declined to comment.

The South Korean state-owned oil company's direct approach to Dana shareholders underscores industrialized Asian nations' strong desire to secure oil supplies worldwide.

Fully owned by the South Korean state, KNOC has a target of increasing its production to 300,000 barrels a day in 2012 from 137,000 barrels currently, largely by acquiring oil and gas assets abroad. The acquisition of Dana Petroleum would give KNOC access to a resource base in Europe and North Africa and help secure energy supplies for Asia's fourth-largest economy.

The deal marks the largest cross-border hostile takeover by a South Korean company on record, according to data from Dealogic.

Last week, KNOC said it had acquired 29.5% of Dana's shares on the market at the 1800-pence-a-share offer price, the maximum amount it could hold before the first close of its offer Thursday.

KNOC first approached Dana in July, but talks broke down when the two companies failed to agree on a price.

Since the hostile offer, Dana has published a detailed document explaining why the GBP1.87 billion offer significantly undervalues the company. Dana cited a report from a third-party research company, Senergy Ltd., its own oil output forecasts and exploration updates to persuade the market of its value.

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