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ATS Says It Will Continue Energy Partners Pursuit

Woodside Petroleum Ltd. subsidiary ATS said in a regulatory filing Wednesday that it won't honor a request to suspend its hostile $23/share offer for Energy Partners Ltd. (EPL).

EPL is considering strategic options. During a conference call earlier this week company management said they had asked ATS to suspend its offer while Energy Partners provided ATS with confidential information.

The Woodside unit made a hostile bid for EPL in August, scuttling its plans to buy Stone Energy Corp. (see Daily GPI, Oct. 16).

In a letter to shareholders Woodside said EPL had asked it to wait two months while EPL considers other possible offers and strategic changes. Woodside said it would be able to complete its due diligence in a week if EPL provided the requested information.

Last month New Orleans-based independent producer EPL reiterated its opposition to the $23/share takeover offer from ATS, which extended the tender offer to EPL shareholders for a third time Thursday to Nov. 17 despite garnering less than 1% of EPL shares to date. (see Daily GPI, Oct. 27).

"We are committed to continuing our process of exploring all options to maximize stockholder value, including a possible sale of the company," said EPL CEO Richard A. Bachmann. "A number of parties have already signed or have agreed to sign confidentiality agreements, and we are entertaining interest from others. Woodside's ultimatum and disingenuous rhetoric will not deter our board of directors from pursuing the best interests of all EPL stockholders.

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