ConocoPhillips in advanced talks to buy Marathon Oil, FT reports

ConocoPhillips in advanced talks to buy Marathon Oil, FT reports

(Reuters) – ConocoPhillips is in advanced talks to buy Marathon Oil in an all-stock deal that could value the Houston-based company at just over its $15 billion market value, it reported on Wednesday the Financial Times citing people briefed on the matter.

Although a deal appeared imminent Tuesday evening, there was still a risk that negotiations could break down or that a rival bidder could derail Conoco’s takeover plan, the report said.

Marathon Oil and ConocoPhillips did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.

The U.S. oil and gas industry has embarked on a $250 billion buying spree in 2023 and the wave of consolidation has continued this year, but has sparked increased antitrust scrutiny.

Earlier this month, U.S. regulators gave the green light to Exxon Mobil’s $60 billion takeover of Pioneer Natural Resources, but removed Pioneer’s former CEO from Exxon’s board due to allegations that he tried to collude with OPEC to raise oil prices.

Oil companies Chevron and Occidental have agreed to buy Hess and CrownRock, respectively, in 2023.

This year, Diamondback Energy signed a deal to acquire privately held rival Endeavor Energy Partners in a $26 billion cash-and-stock deal.

Bloomberg News reported in October last year that Devon Energy had held preliminary discussions about a merger with Marathon Oil.

The Financial Times report on Wednesday said Conoco had been competing with Devon to acquire Marathon for several weeks.

Marathon Oil’s first-quarter oil production decreased 2.7%, to 181,000 barrels per day (bpd), from a year earlier.

(Reporting by Gnaneshwar Rajan in Bengaluru; editing by Savio D’Souza, Nivedita Bhattacharjee and Mrigank Dhaniwala)

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