Spain's Repsol Faces Competition for Talisman Assets

Spain's Repsol SA could have competition if it decides to act on its long-standing interest in Canada's Talisman Energy Inc. (TLM) , with the Calgary-based oil and gas producer admitting that it had received numerous approaches.

"Talisman acknowledges that it has been approached by a number of parties, including Repsol, with regards to various transactions," it said on Monday, Dec. 8. "There is no assurance that any transaction will be agreed."

Repsol, of Madrid, has been circling Talisman since at least July as it ponders a deal to boost it activities in North America. The Madrid-based company has considered an outright acquisition of Talisman and deals for particular Talisman assets, said a source with knowledge of Repsol's thinking.

Repsol has $9 billion in cash earmarked for acquisitions and said earlier this year it will spend the money on growth projects in low-risk OECD countries. Spain's biggest oil company wants to replenish reserves and its pipeline of long-term projects following Argentina's May 2012 seizure of Repsol's 51% stake in YPF SA. Repsol is taking advice on potential acquisitions from JPMorgan & Co.

The Spanish company had looked at Talisman's books in August and decided not to proceed with an immediate bid, but may have been lured back by a decent decline in Talisman's valuation. Talisman shares have tumbled just over 60% in the past three months, falling faster than oil prices, which have declined about 40% since June.

Talisman owns shale gas projects in Canada, where it operates in Alberta's Edson shale field and has an undeveloped stake in the liquids-rich Duvernay shale field, also in Alberta. Repsol is also interested in expanding its small U.S. shale gas operation, which would be transformed by Talisman's significant assets in the U.S. Marcellus and Eagle Ford shale gas fields.

Talisman closed Monday at C$4.30, down C$0.19, or just over 4%, on its Friday close. The company has a market capitalization of C$4.48 billion ($3.9 billion). Repsol shares traded Tuesday at €17.86, down less than 1%. It has a market capitalization of €24.13 billion ($29.8 billion).

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