Shell's $1.57 bn offer outbids OVL, GAIL for UK's Cove Energy

Royal Dutch Shell is buying UK-listed African explorer Cove Energy for £992.4 million ($1.57 billion), after Europe's largest oil and gas company outbid Indian and other oil majors.

ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), the overseas arm of state-owned ONGC, and GAIL consortium found its offer of around Rs6,000 crore ($1.2 billion) trumped by Shell's higher bid.

Last month, Bloomberg had reported that Oil India was also to have bid for Cove Energy, but is said to have backed out due to unspecified technical reasons.

London-based Cove Energy, which was formerly known as Lapp Plats plc till July 2009, had hired Standard Chartered Bank and Cenkos Securities Plc to identify a potential buyer for itself, and last month opened a data room for interested bidders.

The Anglo-Dutch oil major is offering 195 pence for each Cove share, a 26-per cent premium, and the board of the Africa-focussed explorer said that it would recommend the proposed acquisition to its shareholders.

Cove Energy, which has a market capitalisation of around $960 million, has interests in oil and gas blocks in onshore and offshore Mozambique, offshore Kenya, and onshore and offshore Tanzania.