By Jason Raznick
One of the more interesting M&A melodramas of recent weeks has been speculation about BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP), the world's largest mining company, acquiring Woodside Petroleum (OTCPK:WOPEY), Australia's second-largest oil and natural gas producer.
On Sunday, several credible international media outlets reported BHP may be mulling a $48.5 billion takeover of Woodside with the Australian reporting that the mining giant may attempt to acquire the 24.27% stake in Woodside that Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS.A), Europe's largest oil company, is looking to sell.
BHP has since said it is not aware of the basis for the reports, but the world knows this much: BHP CEO Marius Kloppers likes to at least try to get big deals done. Assuming he's successful this time around, these are the ETFs you might want to keep an eye on.
1) iShares MSCI Australia Index Fund (NYSEARCA:EWA): The obvious choice as both companies are based in Australia. BHP is EWA's largest component with a weight of almost 16% and Woodside accounts for nearly 3% of EWA's weight. It's hard, if not impossible, to find an ETF where BHP and Woodside combine for a greater weight.
2) Vanguard MSCI Pacific ETF (NYSEARCA:VPL): BHP is VPL's top holding as well and Woodside also figures prominently in the ETF's mix. In typical Vanguard fashion, VPL has a meager 0.14% expense ratio, making it an alluring play exclusive of these takeover rumors.
3) WisdomTree International Energy ETF (DKA): Woodside is DKA's ninth-largest holding, but Royal Dutch Shell accounts for over 13% of DKA's weight and that company could figure prominently in any designs BHP has on Woodside.
4) BLDRS Asia 50 ADR Index Fund (NASDAQ:ADRA): This light volume ETF doesn't get a lot publicity, but for the situation, it's worth a look as BHP is the ETF's largest holding with a weight of almost 12.5%.