Seven Group buys into Beach Energy

Media group Seven Group Holdings, Perth, has bought 13.8% of Adelaide-based Beach Energy Ltd. through share purchases fueling speculation of a possible takeover bid.

Seven took an initial 3.5% stake in Beach last week in an after-market raid and has moved this week to consolidate that gain by moving to 13.8%.

Seven’s chief executive is former Woodside Petroleum Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Don Voelte who took up the role in Seven in 2013.

Since then Seven has acquired the collapsed Melbourne-based petroleum explorer Nexus Energy Ltd. from that company’s administrators.

Seven has also taken a $100 million (Aus.) stake in Woodside and is rumored to be eyeing several other possible upstream petroleum investments.

The company appears to be taking advantage of the fall in oil prices that has weakened a number of smaller Australian independents.

Beach’s share price has fallen by more than 40% since July 2014, although it still has a market capitalization of $1.2 billion (Aus.) which is a large bite even for the Seven Group.

Seven has a $900 million (Aus.) investment portfolio. The group has yet to reveal its oil and gas business plans, but there is speculation it could be anticipating consolidation of interests in regions like the Cooper basin and wanting to play a part in any such moves.

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