Shotgun Weddings In The Oil Patch?

With sluggish prices and stocks, oils may have to merge

Have things gotten so bad in the oil patch that you can't give an oil company away? Almost. On July 17, shares of Triton Energy Ltd. sank 32% after the company admitted that it could not find a buyer, despite a four-month effort to sell itself. Rutherford-Moran Oil Corp., on the block since January, has encountered the same lack of interest. No wonder the total value of mergers and acquisitions in the first half of 1998 was just $7.9 billion, compared with $24 billion for all of 1997.

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