Shell today abandoned the battle for control of gas explorer Cove Energy, shocking investors and clearing the way for Thai rival PTT Exploration & Production to acquire it.
Investors had anticipated a higher offer from one or both bidders, prompting hedge funds to buy in to Cove stock, and an auction process had been due to start this week.
PTT is offering 240p per share or about £1.2billion for Cove, which has made huge east African gas finds. Shell had bid 220p.
Cove shares closed at 275.5p on Friday, but after Shell’s surprise announcement they dropped 13% on the day to stand just shy of PTT’s offer at 238.5p.