Occidental has the edge in potential Anadarko merger

BY Richard Summerfield

A merger between Anadarko Petroleum Corporation and Occidental Petroleum Corporation is inching closer as Anadarko announced that Occidental’s revised $38bn offer for the company constitutes a “superior proposal” to the company’s previously announced deal with Chevron Corporation.

Under the terms of the revised Occidental proposal, the company would acquire Anadarko for $76 per share, comprised of $59 in cash and 0.2934 of a share of Occidental common stock per share of Anadarko common stock. The revised Occidental offer represents a premium of approximately 23.3 percent to the $61.62 per share value of Chevron’s pending offer.

Occidental’s offer would also remove a requirement for any deal to receive the approval of Occidental’s shareholders. The cash element of Occidental’s bid has increased $18.8bn, a move which allows the company to avoid a vote by its shareholders on the deal. Some of the Occidental’s investors are opposed to the decision to bypass a shareholder vote of approval, however.

Chevron’s previously agreed merger, which was worth $33bn, is now in jeopardy. The company has until 10 May to revamp its own offer, or walk away from the deal. Chevron’s merger agreement with Anadarko is structured as 75 percent stock and 25 percent cash. Chevron has previously noted that it is not likely to engage in a bidding war for Anadarko, however. If Anadarko terminates the Chevron merger agreement, which it indicated it will do in a statement released on Monday, in order to enter into a definitive agreement with Occidental, Anadarko will pay Chevron a $1bn termination fee.

The decision is a victory for Occidental chief executive Vicki Hollub, who pressed Anadarko’s board to reject the Chevron agreement and pulled in support from billionaire Warren Buffett for the deal. Mr Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has pledged to invest $10bn into the deal.

“We firmly believe that Occidental is uniquely positioned to drive significant value and growth from Anadarko’s highly complementary asset portfolio,” said Ms Hollub. “This combination will create a global energy leader with the scale and geographic diversification to drive compelling returns to the shareholders of both companies. The financial support of Berkshire Hathaway as well as the agreement we announced with Total allows us to delever our balance sheet while focusing our integration efforts on the assets that will provide the most value for us.”

The battle for control of Anadarko has gone on for some time. In April, the company rebuffed an offer from Occidental and chose to favour Chevron’s lower bid.

News: Anadarko backs Occidental's revised bid, pressuring Chevron to respond

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