Qatar wealth fund to take over Heritage Oil
$1.6 billion take over offer was put forward by Al Mirqab Capital
British oil company Heritage Oil has accepted a $1.6 billion takeover offer from a fund owned by the former chief executive of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund.
Heritage, whose main oil production is in Nigeria, said on Wednesday it was recommending a 320 pence per share cash offer, which represented a 25% premium to its closing price the day before the approach was announced.
Al Mirqab Capital, is the private investment vehicle of Qatar’s Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabor Al Thani and his family.
Heritage’s largest shareholder, former mercenary Anthony Buckingham who owns 34% of the FTSE 250 company, has entered into an agreement with Al Mirqab to retain a 20% stake of Heritage for five years under its new ownership.
Shares in Heritage, which before opening on Wednesday had risen about 50% over the previous 12 months, were up 22% to 312.4 pence at 0756 GMT.
Al Mirqab is interested in accessing Heritage’s growing oil output in Nigeria and its exploration portfolio which includes areas in Tanzania and Papua New Guinea.
Jersey-based Heritage bought into a Nigerian oilfield which had been owned by oil major Shell in a $850 million deal in 2012 while it sold out of a gas field it had discovered in Kurdistan. It had previously sold oil fields it had found in Uganda.
Heritage was founded by Buckingham, a former North Sea diver who went on to provide mercenary fighters in Africa when he was a partner in the military contracting firm Executive Outcomes.
Still subject to shareholder approval, Heritage’s takeover has been recommended by a board which excludes Buckingham, the company’s chief executive, as he has been deemed to be acting in concert with the Qatari fund due to his plan to remain invested.