Santos (ASX:STO) confirms merger talk with Oil Search

Company News

by Lauren Evans

Australian energy supplier Santos (ASX:STO), has confirmed that on 25 June 2021 it submitted a confidential, non-binding indicative merger proposal to the Oil Search Board. Oil Search is the largest oil and gas exploration and development company incorporated in Papua New Guinea.

The merger proposal provides that the transaction would be implemented through a scheme of arrangement under which Oil Search shareholders would receive 0.589 new Santos shares for each Oil Search share held. Following approval of the scheme, Oil Search shareholders would own 37 per cent of the merged group and Santos shareholders would own 63 per cent.

The ownership ratio implied a transaction price of $4.25 per Oil Search share, based on Santos’ closing price on 24 June 2021. This represented a 12.3 per cent premium to the Oil Search closing price on 24 June 2021 of $3.78.

On 9 July 2021, Santos received a letter from Oil Search which acknowledged the strengths of the combined company and the rationale for the merger proposal but noted that the proposal did not offer appropriate value for Oil Search shareholders or a basis on which discussions could be progressed.

Santos has subsequently sought to engage the Oil Search board on the transaction rationale and the opportunity for Oil Search shareholders to participate in the value created by the merger.

Santos acknowledges that potential merger is a logical combination of two industry leaders to create an unrivalled regional champion of size and scale with a number of features including pro forma market capitalisation of $22 billion which positions the merged entity in the top 20 ASX-listed companies and the 20 largest global oil and gas companies. The merger also creates an opportunity for a diversified portfolio of high quality, long-life assets across Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Shares in Santos (ASX:STO) are trading 2.93 per cent lower at $6.63.

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