WestSide in Talks With Potential Rivals to Landbridge Offer

WestSide Corp., the target of a A$178 million ($166 million) takeover bid from China’s Landbridge Group Co., said it’s in talks with companies that may lead to a higher offer for the coal-seam gas explorer.

“We’re testing the market in terms of other bidders,” Mike Hughes, chief executive officer of the Brisbane-based company, said today in a phone interview. “But that’s up to someone else if they want to come in and offer a higher price.”

WestSide this month rejected Landbridge’s offer of 40 cents a share, saying it doesn’t take into account the company’s agreement in March to supply the $18.5 billion Gladstone liquefied natural gas export project in Queensland run by Santos Ltd. The company operates fields 160 kilometers (99 miles) west of Gladstone with partner Mitsui & Co.

“We’re talking to other parties that may or may not result in another bid,” Hughes said. “We’re not the only ones who see significant value. 40 cents isn’t fair value.”

WestSide rose 6.5 percent to 41 cents at the close of trading in Sydney, the highest in 16 months. Australia’s benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 0.6 percent.

WestSide is talking with banks about debt financing as it proceeds with drilling in Queensland, he said. The company expects to start drilling its first well of its next campaign toward the end of this month, according to Hughes.

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