Exxon considering US$10.9 billion bid for Gulf Keystone

ExxonMobil_GKExxon Mobil is looking into the possibility of taking over the UK's Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP) in a deal that would value the group at US$10.9 billion. (Update)

Huge oil finds

The Independent on Sunday reported that Exxon is considering making an estimated 800 pence per share bid for Gulf Keystone, which has made huge oil finds in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region of Iraq. Both companies have declined to comment.

GKP has a market capitalisation of around US$2.3 billion and is listed on the junior Aim market, but its chief executive, Todd Kozel, believes the group could eventually go for double-figure billions.

According to the paper, Exxon's interest in GKP was discussed at a board meeting 10 days ago and that initial soundings may have been taken at least six weeks ago.

Sinopec and Chevron monitoring

It is thought that the board would not accept the estimated US$12.4 a share that Exxon is considering and that a number of other companies, including China's Sinopec and US' Chevron, are monitoring the situation.

GKP is sitting on what is considered to be one of the world's great recent oil finds – Shaikan, about 50 miles north-west of Kurdistan's capital, Erbil.

Update:

Gulf Keystone has now commented on the press speculation and stated in a company statement that it is: "Not up for sale."

The company added: "whilst there is clearly increasing interest in the region in which Gulf Keystone operates, the Board is not in discussions with regard to a sale of the Company." 



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