CNOOC (CEO) to Acquire Nexen (NXY) for $27.50/Share

July 23, 2012 6:18 AM EDT
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CNOOC Limited (NYSE: CEO) and Nexen Inc. (NYSE: NXY) have entered into a definitive agreement under which CNOOC Limited will acquire all of the outstanding common shares of Nexen for US$27.50 per share in cash.

The purchase price represents a premium of 61% to the closing price of Nexen's common shares on the NYSE on July 20, 2012, and a premium of 66% to Nexen's 20 trading-day volume-weighted average share price. Total cash consideration of approximately US$15.1 billion will be paid for Nexen's common and preferred shares, and Nexen's current debt of approximately US$4.3 billion will remain outstanding. The transaction, which will be completed by way of a plan of arrangement, is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2012.

The acquisition of Nexen expands CNOOC Limited's overseas businesses and resource base in order to deliver long-term, sustainable growth. Nexen will complement CNOOC Limited's large offshore production footprint in China and extends CNOOC Limited's global presence with a high-quality asset base in many of the world's most significant producing regions - including Western Canada, the U.K. North Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and offshore Nigeria - focused on conventional oil and gas, oil sands and shale gas. In addition, Nexen management's current mandate will be expanded to include all of CNOOC Limited's North American and Caribbean assets.

Nexen had average production of 207 mboe/d (after royalties) in Q2 2012. In accordance with SEC rules, Nexen had 900 mmboe of proved reserves and 1,122 mmboe of probable reserves as of December 31, 2011. In addition, as of December 31, 2011, Nexen had best estimate contingent resources of 5.6 billion boe in accordance with Canadian National Instrument 51-101, predominantly in the Canadian oil sands.

The transaction will be funded by CNOOC Limited's existing cash resources and external financing.

The Nexen Board of Directors, after consulting with its financial and legal advisors, has unanimously determined that the transaction is in the best interest of Nexen and that the consideration being offered to Nexen shareholders is fair from a financial point of view. The Nexen Board has resolved to unanimously recommend that Nexen common shareholders and preferred shareholders vote their shares in favor of the arrangement at the Special Meeting of shareholders to be held on or prior to September 21, 2012. In addition, the directors and senior officers of Nexen have advised Nexen that they intend to vote their shares in favor of the transaction.

The definitive agreement between CNOOC Limited and Nexen provides for, among other things, a non-solicitation covenant on the part of Nexen, subject to customary "fiduciary out" provisions, that entitles Nexen to consider and accept a superior proposal and a right in favor of CNOOC Limited to match any superior proposal. If the definitive agreement is terminated in certain circumstances, including if Nexen enters into an agreement with respect to a superior proposal or if the Board of Directors of Nexen withdraws or modifies its recommendation with respect to the proposed transaction, CNOOC Limited is entitled to a termination payment of US$425 million.

In addition, under the terms of the transaction, if approved by the holders of preferred shares in a separate class vote, CNOOC Limited will acquire the outstanding preferred shares of Nexen for a purchase price of C$26.00 per share in cash, plus any dividends accrued but unpaid at the time of closing. However, closing of the arrangement is not conditioned upon approval by the holders of the Nexen preferred shares.

Completion of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including court approval of the arrangement; approval of two-thirds of the votes cast by holders of common shares in person or by proxy at the meeting; and applicable government and regulatory approvals by, among others, the relevant authorities in Canada, the U.S., the EU (if required) and China. A termination payment of US$425 million will be payable by CNOOC Limited to Nexen should the transaction not close for China regulatory reasons. Nexen common and preferred shareholders will be asked to vote on the transaction at a special meeting of Nexen. CNOOC Limited has obtained approval for the transaction from its majority stockholder. Full details of the transaction will be included in an information circular to be mailed to Nexen common and preferred shareholders in accordance with applicable securities law.

CNOOC Limited's financial advisors are BMO Capital Markets and Citigroup Global Markets Inc. CNOOC Limited's legal advisors are Stikeman Elliott LLP and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP. Nexen's financial advisors are Goldman Sachs and RBC Capital Markets and its legal advisors are Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison LLP.

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