Shell Considered Post-Spill Move On BP

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Royal Dutch Shell, now Europe's largest oil company by market value, considered making a move to acquire rival BP, Europe's second-largest oil company, following the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the Daily Mail reported, citing sources close to the Anglo-Dutch company.

The Shell board pulled back from making a rescue offer for its longstanding rival on fears that the uncapped legal liabilities could blow a huge hole in BP's future prospects, the paper reported. Without identifying sources, the Daily Mail said Shell (RDS-A) remains interested in a combination with its British rival.

Shell executives were reportedly on alert throughout the Gulf oil spill disaster and would have stepped in with a counteroffer for BP (BP) to prevent the company from falling into the hands of a U.S. oil major on fears that a U.S. company acquiring BP would have marginalized Shell among the world's major integrated oil companies, the Daily Mail reported.

While Shell remains interested in BP and believes the combination makes sense, it would likely wait to make a counter bid if another oil major moved on the British firm, according to the Daily Mail.