InterOil Corp receives unsolicited takeover offer from an unnamed bidder

InterOil Corp, which recently agreed to be acquired by Papua New Guinea-focused oil and gas explorer Oil Search Ltd, today said that it has received an unsolicited takeover offer from an unnamed bidder.

InterOil said that it would enter into talks with the unnamed bidder and further added Oil Search had allowed it to proceed with the negotiations.

In May, Oil Search said that it would buy InterOil for at least $2.2 billion and agreed to sell off some assets to French energy giant Total to fund part of the proposed acquisition.

The move comes a year after Oil Search rejected an $8-billion takeover offer from Woodside Petroleum.

Oil Search, based in Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea, but listed in Australia, had offered to pay $40.25 per share for InterOil, a 27-per cent premium to the company's closing price on 19 May.

InterOil shareholders would receive 8.05 Oil Search shares for each of their own shares or a cash alternative up to a total of $770 million.

InterOil shareholders would also receive the right to an additional cash payment of about $6.05 a share for each trillion cubic feet equivalent of gas, above the threshold of 6.2 trillion cubic feet, that is certified for the Elk and Antelope fields, which could see the value of the offer rise to $51.13 a share if the resource has 8 trillion cubic feet of gas, taking the total deal value to $2.2 billion.
Oil Search and InterOil had then said in a joint statement said the merger offers compelling financial and strategic benefits for both sides by creating a major independent oil-and-gas champion in the Pacific island nation.

"The combination of the companies will increase Oil Search's exposure to the world-class Papua LNG Project, which is expected to be the next major LNG development in PNG," Oil Search said in a statement.

Oil Search is an oil and gas exploration and development company and was established in Papua New Guinea (PNG) in 1929.

Most of the company's assets are located in Papua New Guinea, where it holds several oil and gas production and exploration licences.
The company's main asset is its current 29 per cent stake in the 6.9MTPA PNG LNG Project, a world-scale liquefied natural gas development operated by ExxonMobil.

In addition to the PNG LNG Project, Oil Search has interests in, and operates all of, PNG's currently producing oil fields. Approximately 20 per cent of PNG LNG Project gas is sourced from the Oil Search-operated oil fields.

The company also has offshore exploration interests in the Middle East and North Africa.