BHP Billiton, the world's largest mining company, is reportedly considering making a $48.5 billion bid for Woodside Petroleum, Australia's second-largest oil and natural gas producer. Rumors of the deal have gained steam in recent weeks despite several major banks voicing doubt over the deal happening.
BHP (BHP) will try to acquire the 24.27% stake in Woodside that Royal Dutch Shell, Europe's largest oil company, is looking to sell in preparation of making an all-out bid for Woodside. Shell (RDS-A) may want a premium for its Woodside stake and play ''hardball'' in the talks with BHP, the Australian reported.
Shell's Woodside stake has been valued at $9 billion and the company has said it is in no hurry to sell the investment. At one time, Shell itself was considered to be a suitor for Woodside, but that was several years ago.
Earlier this year, BHP CEO Marius Kloppers said his company would take a pass on big acquisitions to focus more on investing in its own mines and other properties. BHP then proceeded to pay $4.75 billion for shale assets in Arkansas owned by Chesapeake Energy (CHK), the second-largest U.S natural gas producer.
After failing in a hostile takeover bid last year for Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan (POT), speculation swirled that BHP would turns its attention to another big target with Woodside and Texas-based Anadarko Petroleum (APC) surfacing a potential buys for the Anglo-Australian mining giant.