Exxon Said to Hire Barclays to Find Buyers for Castle Peak

Exxon Mobil Corp., the world’s largest energy company by market value, hired Barclays Plc to seek buyers for part of its stake in Hong Kong utility Castle Peak Power Co., a person with knowledge of the matter said.

The U.S. oil company wants to sell about half its 60 percent stake in the owner of three Hong Kong power plants, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

CLP Holdings Ltd., Hong Kong’s biggest electricity provider, said a year ago that it and China Southern Power Grid Co. were in talks to buy Exxon’s stake in Castle Peak. In its preliminary 2012 annual report, CLP said negotiations with Exxon had been “protracted,” citing a “considerable gap” in valuation between the parties.

“Exxon Mobil routinely assesses the company’s global portfolio of businesses,” Jenny Choy, a Hong Kong-based external affairs manager at the company wrote in an e-mail. Choy declined to comment on the hiring of Barclays or the plan to sell Castle Peak.

Reuters reported the hiring of Barclays earlier today, citing people it didn’t identify.