Berkley Hopes to Lure More Offers

Calgary-based Berkley Petroleum Corp. continues to fend off a C$1.4 billion hostile takeover bid by Hunt Oil, announcing Monday that it will open its data rooms next week to third parties in an attempt to lure a better buyer. Hunt, an independent based in Dallas, saw its bid rejected last week by Berkley management (see Daily GPI, Jan. 2; Dec. 29, 2000).

"The data rooms will be available for access early in the week of Jan. 8, by interested parties who sign confidentiality agreements," said Berkley in a statement. It has said it will need at least four months to consider Hunt's bid and other offers before making a decision.

Under the defensive plan, Berkley said its board will be given enough time to consider Hunt's bid as well as generate other bids and proposals. It also has formed a special committee of independent board members who are going to "vigorously pursue all alternatives to maximize value for Berkley's shareholders."

Hunt's unsolicited offer would give the company the 90.4% of Berkley that it doesn't already own. As part of the C$10 a share offer, Hunt also would assume C$379 million of Berkley debt. In 2000, Hunt acquired Calgary-based Newport Petroleum Corp. for C$489 million (see Daily GPI, May 16, 2000).

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