The Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) has given Canadian Oil Sands Ltd. (COS) a month to seek an alternative to Suncor Energy Inc. (TSE:SU, Mkt cap 53.02B, P/E 567.65, Div/yield 0.29/3.11, EPS 0.07, Shares 1.45B) unwelcome advances.
The target company had wanted until early February to decide on Suncor’s offer, having put in place a new shareholder rights plan, also known as a poison pill defence, shortly after Suncor took its all-stock bid directly to investors on Oct. 5.
However, COS suggested that the regulator’s decision goes some way to allowing its shareholders to make a balanced decision.
“The ASC decision applies the reins to Suncor, who tried to stampede our shareholders,” said COS chairman Donald Lowry.
Stephen Murison, chairman of the ASC panel, said both firms were entitled to play “hardball” – which is just what the two parties intend to do.
In fact, the nature of the debate has often been vociferous, with COS accusing Suncor of “fear mongering” in its efforts to secure a greater slice of the oilsands at a knock-down price.
Suncor, on the other hand, has argued that given the current landscape of low oil prices, COS shareholders will do well to remember that “hope is not a strategy.”
While COS appeared satisfied with the ASC ruling, Suncor said it will take time to analyse the decision before determining its next steps.
A COS financial adviser suggested the extra time was allocated because there are 25 other parties said to be interested in buying the business; four of which have signed non-disclosure agreements.
Suncor’s offer is worth about $4.5 billion, based on Suncor’s current share price.
Suncor Energy Inc. in a Calgary, Alberta based integrated energy company. The Company is focused on developing Canada’s petroleum resource basin, Athabasca oil sands. The Company operates in three business segments: Oil Sands, Exploration and Production, and Refining and Marketing. The Company’s Oil Sands segment includes Oil Sands operations and Oil Sands ventures operations. Its Exploration and Production segment consists of offshore operations off the east coast of Canada and in the North Sea, and onshore assets in North America, Libya and Syria. The Company’s Refining and Marketing segment is engaged in Refining and Supply, and Downstream Marketing. In addition, the Company explores, for, acquires, develops, produces and markets crude oil and natural gas in Canada and internationally. The Company also transports and refines crude oil, and markets petroleum and petrochemical products primarily in Canada. More from Reuters »
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