Thailand’s PTT Exploration and Production extended the deadline for investors to accept its offer for explorer Cove Energy (Berlin: LPC.BE – news), after a low take-up from investors who are hoping a higher offer will emerge from rival suitor Shell (LSE: RDSB.L – news).
PTT said on Monday it was extending the deadline for Cove shareholders to accept its $1.9 billion offer for the company until July 6 after receiving acceptances of just 0.25 percent of the shares by the time of the offer’s first close at 1200 GMT on Friday.
A number of analysts believe the takeover battle for Mozambique-focused Cove, now in its fourth month, has further to run after a series of bids, counter-bids and offer extensions from PTT and oil major Shell.
At stake is access to East Africa’s huge gas resources through Cove’s 8.5 percent ownership of a block off the coast of Mozambique, where the British company is partnered with US explorer Anadarko Petroleum (Stuttgart: 871766 – news).
East Africa is set to become one of the world’s largest gas exporters supplying energy-hungry Asia, after a string of major discoveries across Mozambique and Tanzania.
Shell’s 220 pence per share offer remains on the table after it extended the deadline for acceptances to June 27, giving itself more time to decide on its next move.
Shares in Cove have on the whole traded above PTT’s 240 pence per share offer price since the Thai company’s bid in May, in an indication that investors are betting on a higher offer. They closed at 264.75 pence on Friday.
The bidding war for Cove appears to have narrowed to a two horse race between oil major Shell and PTT after an Indian consortium said on Monday it was no longer considering making an offer for the company.