Fri, Jul. 31, 7:46 PM
- Giants Exxon Mobil (XOM -4.5%) and Chevron (CVX -4.9%) finished significantly lower at the close after each attempted a midday rally, in the wake of earnings misses marked by the continuing crude supply glut and price pressure.
- Oil ETFs fared not much better today: USO -3.2%, OIL -3.7%.
- Producers have key differences that make for advantages and disadvantages, like Chevron's downstream cushion. Exxon's edge over Chevron, Liam Denning notes: M&A. Its stock is down just 19% over the past year while the sector has tumbled 47%.
- As oil's selling point -- big cash distribution -- gets squeezed, Exxon is in relatively good shape. It's still raising its dividend, and it's cut its projected Q3 buybacks to just $500M (vs. zero for Chevron, Shell and BP).
- Exxon says it shops worldwide, but the U.S. may be a more natural hunting ground. Possible targets? According to Wolfe Research's Paul Sankey, Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD -2.4%) and Hess (HES -2.2%).
- ETFs: USO, OIL, UCO, UWTI, SCO, BNO, DBO, DWTI, DTO, USL, DNO, OLO, SZO, OLEM
- Previously: ConocoPhillips -3.3% as dividend gets scrutiny out of earnings (Jul. 31 2015)
- Previously: Chevron -1.8% as earnings tumble, paced by $2.2B upstream loss (Jul. 31 2015)
- Previously: Exxon Mobil off 1.8% premarket after lowest profit since 2009 (Jul. 31 2015)
Thu, Jun. 25, 12:17 PM
- Penn Virginia (PVA +7.8%) spikes higher after a report that BP (BP +0.3%) has offered $8/share in a takeover bid for the company, and that PVA has hired BofA to help it search for potential buyers.
- PVA is said to have rejected the offer because it believes the terms offered undervalue the company, and is holding out for at least $10/share, according to U.K. publication Proactive Investors.
- BP rivals such as Exxon Mobil (XOM -0.1%) and Chevron (CVX -0.1%) also may be interested in buying PVA, the report says.
Tue, Apr. 21, 10:15 AM
- BP execs reportedly are concerned the company is vulnerable to a takeover bid, and they are said to have stepped up internal reviews of takeover scenarios and war-gamed defense strategies with advisers from firms including Morgan Stanley.
- While a move for BP may seem unlikely because of still-unknown legal liabilities from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, there’s at least one good reason for BP's paranoia: Before ruling it out by going for BG, Royal Dutch Shell was said to have taken a hard look at buying BP.
- Even a slimmed-down BP still has plenty to attract potential acquirers, including strong deepwater prospects in Angola and the Gulf of Mexico, a refining business that has outperformed peers, and an industry-leading trading outfit.
- BP views Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) and Chevron (NYSE:CVX) as the only realistic predators remaining, according to the report.
Tue, Apr. 14, 12:58 PM
- Canadian Oil Sands (OTCQX:COSWF +5.5%), the company with the largest stake in oil sands miner Syncrude Canada, is a prime takeover target and its most likely suitor is Imperial Oil (IMO +1.9%), the company with the second-largest stake, says FirstEnergy Capital analyst Michael Dunn.
- The analyst says his report is partly based on recent investor meetings with senior IMO execs who believe now is a good time to consider making acquisitions.
- Dunn thinks IMO would not want to pay more than a price in the low teens for COSWF, so its stock would have to fall further to make a bid attractive, and he suggests the company would not want to take on excessive debt - which could mean an equity-based offer, help from its controlling shareholder, Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM), or enrolling a current Syncrude partner such as Suncor (NYSE:SU).
Wed, Apr. 8, 7:30 PM
- Analysts say Shell's (RDS.A, RDS.B) move to buy BG Group is telling potential acquirers that one of the biggest players is now confident enough to make a big play, and that the worst may be over in the big slide in oil and gas prices.
- The deal also may be the starting gun for a wave of M&A activity that oil industry observers have been predicting since crude prices started to slump in June.
- For starters, BG's U.S. shale assets likely will become candidates for divestiture after the Shell deal closes; in buying BG, Shell has made the choice to double-down on global liquefied natural gas and de-emphasize U.S. shale.
- Among the biggest players, Exxon (NYSE:XOM) and BP could contemplate deals - perhaps even with each other, as has been speculated, since BP ranks among the cheapest major producers relative to estimated profit.
- BG itself could whet the appetite of XOM's Rex Tillerson, who recently said there was "no limitation" to what he might buy - but he will be especially selective after getting burned by 2010's XTO purchase.
- Companies with prime acreage in oil-rich shale fields in Texas, North Dakota and Colorado have become a lot cheaper in recent months; Anadarko (NYSE:APC), Cabot Oil & Gas (NYSE:COG), Pioneer Natural Resources (NYSE:PXD), Occidental (NYSE:OXY), Continental Resources (NYSE:CLR), Concho Resources (NYSE:CXO) and Tullow Oil (OTCPK:TUWLF) are among those at topping analysts’ lists.
- Galp Energia (OTC:GLPEF) may draw interest from buyers because, like BG, it offers access to oil assets in Brazil.
Wed, Apr. 8, 3:21 PM
- Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B) will become a dominant player in the liquefied natural gas market through its acquisition of BG Group, selling ~50M tons/year of LNG by the end of the decade vs. less than 25M tons/year by Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) and Chevron (NYSE:CVX), Shell CFO Simon Henry says.
- The deal will increase Shell’s LNG sales by 32% immediately and 80% by 2018, accounting for ~15% of the world’s traded LNG, according to Henry.
- The deal gives Shell access to BG’s Australian project to produce 8.5M tons/year of LNG from coal-seam gas; the first unit at the site already is producing and a second will start later this year, BG Chairman Andrew Gould says.
- The acquisition also gives Shell assets in Tanzania, where some of the world’s biggest gas discoveries have been made; BG has a 60% interest in three offshore blocks and may help develop an LNG plant there to export gas to Asia and Europe.
- In the LNG market “size really matters and the size underlines delivery potential,” Shell CEO Ben Van Beurden says. "This is about scale.”
Wed, Apr. 8, 7:59 AM
- Analysts at Jefferies now expect Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B) to surpass Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) as the world's largest publicly traded oil and gas producer by 2018, with output of 4.2M boe/day, following Shell's $69.6B deal to buy BG Group.
- But XOM has long been rumored as a potential bidder for BG, and Financial Times points out that it now has both the motive and the opportunity, raising the possibility that it could try to outbid Shell for BG.
- Like Shell, XOM is struggling to grow and will find it easier to raise production by dealmaking than by drilling; XOM’s output was ~4.3M boe/day in 2001 and 4M last year.
- With its greater size, low debt and AAA credit rating, XOM could muster a larger cash component in any offer than Shell’s 28% of its total offer of ₤13.50/share; however, hostile deals are very rare in the oil and gas industry.
- Whether or not BG is the perfect fit for XOM, Paul Sankey of Wolfe Research has suggested other midsized E&P specialists could prove tempting, including Hess (NYSE:HES), Continental Resources (NYSE:CLR), Devon Energy (NYSE:DVN), Apache (NYSE:APA) and Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE:APC).
Fri, Mar. 13, 3:58 PM
- Whiting Petroleum (WLL +3.1%) spikes on a Bloomberg report suggesting Exxon Mobil (XOM -0.2%) could be interested in the company; trading is now halted for volatility.
- Continental Resources (CLR -4.8%), Hess (HES +0.4%) and Statoil (STO +1.4%) also are reportedly looking at WLL, according to the report, and WLL has set up a data room for potential buyers to evaluate the company’s financial information and asked them to submit bids next week.
- WLL is the largest producer in North Dakota’s Bakken Shale, and the four rumored suitors already are among the 10 largest holders of acreage in the play.
- WLL had been down all day on an earlier report that it was considering selling off pieces rather than the whole company.
Thu, Feb. 12, 2:14 PM
- If Exxon Mobil (XOM +1.6%) decides to go hunting for struggling energy peers with shrinking cash flow - as it did five years ago when it acquired XTO Resources for $25B, during an energy rout worse than today's - it would need to go big or not go at all in order to meaningfully boost its oil and gas reserves, WSJ writes as it discusses BP (BP +2.1%) as a potential takeover target.
- BP “is the obvious fit says Wolfe Research's Paul Sankey; buying BP, which is still dealing with the fallout of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, “would close out a damaged brand at a terrific price” and bolster XOM’s capacity to find new sources of oil and gas, he says.
- Other potentially attractive targets singled out by analysts include a smaller tier of companies such as Anadarko (APC +1.9%) and BG Group (OTCPK:BRGXF, OTCQX:BRGYY), which have discovered huge deposits of oil and gas but may lack the cash flow to develop them quickly.
Mon, Feb. 2, 6:24 PM
- Canadian Oil Sands (OTCQX:COSWF) jumped 20% today in Toronto on rumors it could be a takeover target by one of its partners in Syncrude Canada.
- Canadian Oil Sands is the largest shareholder in Syncrude, with a 37% stake, but larger companies such as Imperial Oil (NYSEMKT:IMO) also own major stakes in the venture; the rumors appeared to take flight as IMO parent company Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) signaled today that it would be acquisitive in the current low oil price environment.
- FirstEnergy Capital analyst Michael Dunn says a Canadian Oil Sands “takeout by another Syncrude partner is a distinct possibility should the shares continue to languish."
Fri, Jan. 2, 2:55 PM
- Europe largely missed out on last year's $383B in oil and gas sector M&A activity, but Europe likely will get a bigger piece of the action in 2015 if current oil prices persist, according to Reuters' Fiona Maharg-Bravo.
- Net debt at smaller explorers such as Tullow Oil (OTCPK:TUWLF, OTCPK:TUWOY), Premier Oil (OTC:PMOIF), Afren (OTCPK:AFRNF) and EnQuest (OTC:ENQUF) could all reach 3x EBITDA if oil remains at $60/bbl through 2015, Barclays estimates.
- BG Group (OTCPK:BRGXF, OTCQX:BRGYY) has long been a target, and the new CEO starts in March; BP faces big liabilities in the Gulf of Mexico and volatility in Russia, it’s not clear if Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B) will make a move, while Exxon (NYSE:XOM) and other U.S. majors could be tempted.
Dec. 8, 2014, 12:30 PM
- M&A likely will become a bigger theme in the energy exploration and production sector in 2015, and Exxon Mobil (XOM -2%) is among companies rumored to be headed for a deal.
- XOM is said to be interested in BG Group (OTCPK:BRGXF, OTCQX:BRGYY); with XOM's long-term growth plans in Russia at risk in today’s environment, the company could use some new, exciting opportunities, and BG’s Brazilian assets or an E&P company’s U.S. shale prospects would fit the bill, WSJ's Liam Denning says.
- XOM may be spooked by its 2010 deal for XTO Energy, which helped cut its annual return on capital employed to 18% last year from 34% in 2008; BG's return on capital last year was ~10%.
- With XTO’s legacy still apparent, Denning says XOM needs a clear bargain price to sell a strategic deal to investors but the dismal outlook for oil prices could make it easier to do as next year unfolds.
- Earlier: Low price oil could lead to big mergers
Dec. 3, 2014, 7:58 AM
- The plunge in oil prices has erased more than half of Tullow Oil’s (OTCPK:TUWLF, OTCPK:TUWOY) market value since June, and Bloomberg reports that management is now concerned the company could be vulnerable to a takeover approach by a larger oil and gas producer.
- Tullow offers “a significant operating position that would not look out of place in the portfolio of a larger company,” says Societe Generale's David Mirzai, adding that the drop in oil prices “would certainly make it a lot easier to win the investor base around than in previous years.”
- Total (NYSE:TOT), Cnooc (NYSE:CEO) and Exxon (NYSE:XOM) would be among logical bidders since they’ve expressed interest in African assets before, BMO says, adding that a buyer would not need to contend with obstacles such as a poison pill or dual-class stock structure.
Jul. 14, 2014, 2:21 PM
- Whiting Petroleum's (WLL +7.4%) $6B buyout of Kodiak Oil & Gas (KOG +5.1%) is renewing investor attention on independent energy firms with operations in the Bakken Shale, especially those significantly owned by hedge funds; Paulson & Co. is the single biggest owner of KOG stock, with just under 10% of shares outstanding as of the last filing date.
- While many of the largest Bakken producers are huge companies or parts of huge companies - Hess (NYSE:HES), EOG, Statoil (NYSE:STO), Marathon Oil (NYSE:MRO), XTO Energy (NYSE:XOM) - a few small and mid-cap independent players show hedge fund interest, CNBC's Brian Sullivan writes.
- The single biggest holder of Oasis Petroleum (OAS +0.5%) also is John Paulson's hedge fund, which owns 9.9M shares (~9.8% of shares outstanding), Jana Partners owns 16M-plus shares in QEP Resources (QEP +1.4%), and WPX Energy (WPX +1.1%) has substantial hedge fund ownership.
Dec. 18, 2013, 6:26 PM
- Anadarko Petroleum's (APC) legal troubles likely haven't tarnished its allure for investors - instead, it has helped make APC $9B cheaper, and more appealing for a buyout, Bloomberg reports.
- APC may be at the top of the list for multinational oil companies seeking purchases to turn around declining production, analysts say; a buyer willing to shell out $40B plus a premium would get a presence in fields where few big energy companies have exposure: the Niobrara formation in Colorado, Texas’ Eagle Ford shale basin, and offshore Africa.
- APC would be an especially good fit for Exxon (XOM) or Chevron (CVX), Oppenheimer's Fadel Gheit says, although it's hard to see how a deal could be serious without a resolution to the Tronox lawsuit, which could leave APC on the hook for as much as $14B in environmental cleanup and health claims.
Nov. 28, 2013, 4:34 AM
- Exxon Mobil (XOM) will today hand over a 25% stake in Iraq's West Qurna-1 oilfield project to PetroChina (PTR), Iraq's deputy prime minister for energy says. Exxon agreed to sell the holding in August.
- However, no mention was made of Indonesia's Pertamina, which is buying a 10% interest from Exxon. The latter owned 60% before the deals were agreed.
- Exxon is remaining the operator of the field.
XOM vs. ETF Alternatives
Exxon Mobil Corporation is engaged in energy, involving exploration for, and production of, crude oil and natural gas, manufacture of petroleum products and transportation and sale of crude oil, natural gas and petroleum products.
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