World Bulletin/News Desk
British oil company Heritage Oil said it agreed a 924 million pound ($1.6 billion) takeover offer from Qatar investment vehicle Al Mirqab, in a sign that deal activity in the natural resources space could be set to pick-up.
Heritage, whose main oil production is in Nigeria, said on Wednesday it was recommending a 320 pence per share cash offer, which represented a 25 percent premium to its closing price the day before the approach was announced.
The deal follows news that two other FTSE 250 oil companies were involved in a potential merger when Premier Oil rejected two secret bid approaches from Ophir Energy.
The company's largest shareholder, former mercenary Anthony Buckingham who owns 34 percent of the FTSE 250 company, has entered into an agreement with Al Mirqab to retain a 20 percent stake of Heritage for five years under its new ownership.
Subject to shareholder approval, the deal has been recommended by a board which excludes Buckingham, Heritage's chief executive, who has been deemed to be acting in concert with the Qatari fund.
Al Mirqab is an investment vehicle which is indirectly owned by Qatar's Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabor Al Thani and his family in a private capacity, Heritage said in its statement.
"The acquisition of Heritage provides Al Mirqab with access to a high growth, producing asset base in Nigeria and a diverse international exploration portfolio," the statement said.
In 2012, Jersey-based Heritage bought into a Nigerian oilfield which had been owned by oil major Shell in a $850 million deal, and sold out of a gas field it found in Kurdistan. It had previously sold oil fields it had found in Uganda.
Heritage was founded by Buckingham, a former North Sea diver who went on to provide mercenary fighters in Africa when he was a partner in the military contracting firm Executive Outcomes.
Shares in Heritage, which have risen 50 percent over the last twelve months, closed at 255.6 pence on Tuesday.Last Mod: 30 Nisan 2014, 10:49