Royal Dutch Shell on Thursday extended its $1.8 billion takeover offer for Cove Energy, leaving the way open to trump a higher bid from rival Thai group PTT Exploration and Production.
The Anglo-Dutch giant’s 1.1 billion pounds ($1.7 billion) approach for Cove will now lapse after July 11, giving shareholders two more weeks to accept Shell’s offer.
Shell and state-owned PTT have been battling to buy Cove since February, lured by Cove’s position in huge gas fields discovered off the coast of Mozambique.
“Shell’s decision to announce a recommended Offer for Cove fits with Shell’s strategic aim to drive forward with its investment programme to deliver sustainable and profitable growth,” Shell said in April at the time of the first offer.
Since then PTT has raised the stakes but Shell has been unwilling to match the higher price.
Shares in Shell rose 6.5 pence or 0.3 per cent in early trading to 2,192 pence, while Cove’s share price climbed 1.5 pence or 0.6 per cent to 265 pence.