Takeover offer heralds green light for merger

AN off-market takeover offer by Cooper Energy for Somerton Energy has been accepted by the latter’s largest shareholder, Beach Energy.
In an ASX release last month, Beach stated that in the absence of a higher offer, it would accept Cooper’s proposal for the acquisition of Somerton, in which it has a 56.2 per cent interest.
Somerton was yet to decide whether it would accept the scrip and cash offer or the full scrip offer for its shares. Cooper, in line with the company’s strategy to grow its presence in the
Otway Basin (Victoria and South Australia), has entered into a merger implementation agreement with Somerton that will see the two entities combine their assets to form a focussed oil and gas production and exploration company.
Cooper’s takeover offer, valued at $31.5 million, represented a 56 per cent premium to Somerton’s April 18 closing share price of $0.14. The voting directors of Somerton recommended
that its shareholders accept the offer. “Somerton’s assets are a complementary fit in line with Cooper’s strategy and the merger will significantly enhance our position in the Otway Basin,” Cooper managing director David Maxwell said in a statement.
“The merged company will be in a very strong financial position to pursue organic growth opportunities and corporate activity to further add value and enhance shareholder return.”
Somerton managing director Hector Gordon said he believed the merger with Cooper was a logical transaction that would create value for its shareholders. “The merged entity will have a dominant position in the Otway Basin, and the financial strength to progress the exploration and development of emerging plays in this region,” Mr Gordon said.
“Somerton shareholders will also benefit from being part of a much larger ASX listed company with an attractive mix of production and high-impact exploration opportunities.”
Currently producing a combined total of about 1850 barrels of oil per day from the Cooper Basin and the Sukananti field in Indonesia, Cooper also has prospective exploration licences in other countries.
Somerton stated that its strategic focus was on unconventional oil and gas plays and other high-impact petroleum projects, primarily in the onshore Otway and Gippsland Basins in Victoria and South Australia, where it holds interests in seven petroleum tenements.


By Jaimee Conn

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