InterOil gets takeover bid to rival $2.2-billion offer from Oil Search

Papua New Guinea exploration company InterOil Corp. has received another takeover offer, this time from an unnamed bidder. The offer poses a rival bid to the friendly $2.2-billion offer received from Oil Search Ltd. in May (OGJ Online, May 20, 2016).

InterOil said it is considering the new offer, stating it was unsolicited, conditional, and nonbinding. However the board is still recommending the Oil Search offer, which is due to be voted on by InterOil shareholders on July 28.

There is no indication whether the rival offer is in cash or scrip.

InterOil said the new offer has a number of conditions attached, including satisfactory completion of due diligence.

InterOil said these steps were allowed under its deal with Oil Search, which permitted the company to engage in further discussions and negotiations with any third party. It added that there was no assurance any transaction would result.

The board said it will not comment further on the unsolicited proposal until a transaction is negotiated with the third party or the proposal is withdrawn.

Oil Search’s offer has previously been opposed by former InterOil Chief Executive Officer Phil Mulacek who remains a significant shareholder. Mulacek believes the Oil Search bid undervalues the company’s undeveloped gas resources in Papua New Guinea, including Elk-Antelope field in the Eastern Highlands that is the likely feedstock for the proposed Papua LNG project operated by Total SA and in which both Oil Search and InterOil are joint venture participants.

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