Aug 01, 2003 (Evening Standard - Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News via COMTEX) -- Royal Dutch/Shell is thought to be considering a $10 billion-plus (UKpound 6.2 billion) bid for Texas oil producer Anadarko Petroleum if, as expected, the American firm puts itself on the auction block.
It is understood Anadarko has retained investment bank CSFB to try to put a deal together. The unusual choice of adviser for a US company suggests it has its sights on a European oil major.
Speculation that Shell may be considering a major acquisition was rekindled last week when the company shelved its share buyback programme.
Apart from Shell it is believed Agip, the exploration and production division of Italy's Eni, could also be interested in acquiring Anadarko while US major Exxon Mobil has also been mentioned.
The company, the largest US producer without refineries or service stations, produces oil on five continents. But it has had a bad year with critics accusing it of being directionless after it replaced John Seitz as chief executive in March with his predecessor, Robert Allison, 64. Allison, the architect of Anadarko's rise, is in poor health and was hospitalised last December with a heart condition.
It is not clear who might replace him, with five senior executives announcing yesterday that they will retire.
While Anadarko yesterday reported second-quarter net profit up 26 percent at $301 million, the result comes on the back of aggressive cost-cutting considered by many to be preparation for a sale.
It also announced further cost-cutting measures, including the loss of 400 jobs, that would reduce bills by $100 million