Harper Says Cnooc-Nexen Deal to Be Thoroughly Scrutinized

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Cnooc Ltd. (883)’s $15.1 billion bid for Nexen Inc. (NXY) will be “thoroughly scrutinized.”

“The government will make sure that investment is clearly scrutinized to ensure that it is of net benefit if it is approved,” said Harper, speaking to reporters in Oshawa, Ontario today. “Nothing should be assumed in terms of the government’s decision one way or the other on that transaction.”

Asked if Canadian investment in China will receive reciprocal treatment, Harper said, “In terms of the specific investment that is now before the government of Canada, I’m obviously not going to comment on that, other than to say as I just said that nobody should pre-judge the government’s decision.”

“This investment will be thoroughly scrutinized before it is either accepted or rejected,” he said.

Earlier today, Industry Minister Christian Paradis said the deal must be compliant with Canada’s foreign-investment law, which lists the criteria for judging if takeovers are in Canada’s interest, including the effect on employment in Canada and the impact on Canada’s ability to compete globally.

“There is a law in place with six criteria,” Paradis said. “It’s not up to the government to convince Canadians that there is a net benefit but this is for the stakeholders to do.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Doug Alexander in Toronto at dalexander3@bloomberg.net; Katia Dmitrieva in Toronto at edmitrieva1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net

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