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Australian Fuel Retailer Ampol in Advanced Talks for Z Energy

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(Bloomberg) --

Australian fuel retailer and distributor Ampol Ltd. is in advanced talks to take over New Zealand counterpart Z Energy Ltd., according to people familiar with the matter.

The two companies have been in discussions for a definitive agreement and an announcement could come as soon as Monday when Ampol is due to release its earnings, the people said. Ampol is weighing a cash-and-stock offer, said one of the people, who asked not to be named discussing confidential information. Wellington-based Z Energy had a market value of about NZ$1.6 billion ($1.1 billion) on Friday.

Details of a transaction is still under deliberation and talks could still be fall apart, the people said. Representatives for Ampol and Z Energy didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Z Energy had earlier confirmed it had spoken to some parties but declined to elaborate on the matter to shareholders and analysts in its own investor day last month.

Ampol, which recently re-branded from the name Caltex, was itself the subject of a takeover last year from Canadian convenience-store giant Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. Couche-Tard later walked away, citing pandemic uncertainty.

Z Energy began as an independent operator when New Zealand infrastructure investor Infratil Ltd. and a local pension fund each acquired a 50% stake in Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s Kiwi distribution business in 2010, according to a previous Infratil statement. Z Energy expanded further in 2016 by buying Chevron Corp.’s assets in the region, and turned it into Caltex-branded outlets.

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