Venezuelan Investors Say They Raised Pacific Rubiales Stake

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A group of Venezuelan investors raised its stake in Pacific Rubiales Energy Corp. at a time Alfa SAB and energy-investment firm Harbour Energy Ltd. prepare a takeover offer for Latin America’s largest non-state oil producer.

The group of at least five private Venezuelan businessmen bought more Pacific Rubiales shares, Orlando Alvarado, one of the investors, said by telephone Thursday, without providing further information. Through O’Hara Administration Co. and affiliates, the Venezuelan group was the third largest shareholder as of Wednesday with 11 percent of the shares.

Pacific Rubiales said this week it was in exclusive talks with Mexico’s Alfa and Harbour Energy. The C$6.50 a share bid is 18 percent more than Tuesday’s closing price in Toronto. The stock jumped 12 percent to C$6.16 on Wednesday after surging 18 percent Tuesday when people familiar with the deal told Bloomberg News that Alfa and Harbour had made a bid. Shares rose 1.1 percent at the close in Toronto.

The Alfa-Harbour offer is 73 percent below Pacific Rubiales’s 2014 high, which was set before crude prices began to tumble. The global rout in oil markets also called into question the plans for Alfa, which was seeking to add energy assets to a portfolio that already includes petrochemicals, lunch meat and auto parts.