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[MELBOURNE] ExxonMobil Corp has made a bid worth at least US$2.2 billion for Papua New Guinea-focused InterOil Corp, winning the support of InterOil and topping an offer from Oil Search Ltd, Oil Search said on Monday.
ExxonMobil's move pits it against French giant Total SA, which is backing Oil Search's offer with an agreement to buy part of InterOil's stake in the potentially lucrative Elk-Antelope gas field.
Oil Search has at least until July 21 to submit a revised offer and said it was talking to Total about making a higher bid.
"The parties are in active dialogue and have the flexibility to submit a revised offer either during the three day notice period or after InterOil enters into an Arrangement Agreement with ExxonMobil," Oil Search said.
ExxonMobil has offered US$45 worth of its own shares for each InterOil share plus a payment of US$0.90 per million cubic feet equivalent (mcfe) for resources of more than 6.2 trillion cubic feet at the Elk-Antelope gas field.
That compares with Oil Search's offer of 8.05 of its own shares for every InterOil share, valuing InterOil's shares at US$42.66 on Friday's close, plus US$0.77 per mcfe for resources of more than 6.2 tcfe at Elk-Antelope.