Canadian Oil Sands Reviews Alternatives to Suncor's Hostile Bid

  • `Full range' of possible buyers showing interest, CEO says
  • Acquisition would boost Suncor share of Syncrude to 49%

Canadian Oil Sands Ltd., the largest owner of the Syncrude venture in northern Alberta, said it’s considering alternatives to Suncor Energy Inc.’s C$4.3 billion ($3.3 billion) hostile takeover bid and has already had interest from possible suitors.

“We’re seeing interest from a full range” of partners and possible buyers, Chief Executive Officer Ryan Kubik said in an interview on Thursday. He declined to name any of the possible investors, adding that the strategic review process is still in the “early stages.”

Canadian Oil Sands earlier this month urged shareholders to reject Suncor’s offer, accusing the larger rival of undervaluing its business and exploiting undisclosed information from their Syncrude partnership. The largest shareholders all support management’s assessment that the bid doesn’t “fairly value” the company and its assets, Kubik said.

Suncor, Canada’s largest crude producer, will keep looking for possible acquisitions as it works to persuade Canadian Oil Sands shareholders to accept the takeover proposal, CEO Steve Williams said earlier. The price Suncor is offering for Canadian Oil Sands is “full and fair,” Williams said in response to a question about whether the company would increase its offer.

Syncrude Stake

The acquisition would boost Suncor’s share in the Syncrude oil-sands venture to 49 percent, giving it almost twice the stake of the next-biggest holder, Imperial Oil Ltd., which is majority-owned by Exxon Mobil Corp. With the capacity to process bitumen from the oil sands into 350,000 barrels a day of light oil, Syncrude is the largest single-source producer in Canada.

Canadian Oil Sands’ stock had tumbled almost 40 percent this year through the end of September before Suncor offered 0.25 of its shares for each of the target’s. The stock has surged 57 percent this month. It rose 1.2 percent to C$9.91 at the close in Toronto. Suncor rose 3.4 percent to C$38.81.

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