Spike Exploration Offers to Buy Bridge Energy for $164 Million

Spike Exploration Holding AS, an oil explorer operating in the Norwegian and U.K. North Sea, offered to buy Bridge Energy ASA for 967 million kroner ($164 million), creating a group with 19 licenses focused on Norway.

Stavanger-based Spike’s offer is about a 41 percent premium to the 10.80 kroner closing share price of Bridge on Sept. 13 and the weighted average for the three past months, Bridge said today in a statement. About 62 percent of shareholders accepted the offer, which was recommended by the Bridge board, it said.

Bridge rose as much as 40 percent in Oslo to the highest intraday level since Dec. 10, 2010 and was up 39 percent at 15 kroner by 10:48 a.m. local time, below the 15.25 kroner bid.

The offer “reflects a fair valuation of our portfolio and a significant premium to the recent trading range,” Bridge Chief Executive Officer Tom Reynolds said in the statement.

Spike, set up last year, has interests in five licenses in Norway and three in the U.K. including the Athena oilfield, according to its website. It will fund the offer with cash and plans to separate off Bridge’s U.K. business to be developed by an arm of Spike’s controlling shareholder, Stavanger-based HitecVision AS, the company said in a separate statement.

The combined company plans to take part in five exploration and appraisal wells in the second half and four each in 2014 and 2015. It will have interests in 16 licenses in Norway and three in the U.K., as well as two discoveries and one producing field.

Bridge Energy, established in 2010 and currently producing 1,100 barrels of oil equivalent a day from four assets, said this month it planned to sell its 20 percent in the Asha oil discovery in the Norwegian North Sea, to be developed with the nearby Ivar Aasen discovery. Spike will not sell any of Bridge’s Norwegian assets, Spike CEO Bjoern Inge Toennessen said.

“We’re keeping everything,” he said in a phone interview. “They have made discoveries with exciting upside, and they have an exploration portfolio with exciting upside.”

Asha and Ivar Aasen are located near the Johan Sverdrup field on Utsira High, which could hold as much as 3.6 billion barrels of oil and be the biggest find off Norway since 1974.

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