Heritage Oil shares surge after talk of takeover interest from the Middle East

 
Marion Dakers
HERITAGE Oil and Gas shares leapt 8.2 per cent to 313.5p yesterday after a report that a suitor from Abu Dhabi had made an informal takeover bid.

Heritage turned down the £1.2bn, or 425p per share indicative offer after receiving a letter from the group’s advisers.

Shares in the FTSE 250-listed group made their highest jump in seven weeks after the report after a volatile few months for Heritage, which has been battered by exploration disappointment and then buoyed by takeover rumours.

The identity of the bidder is not clear, though sources in the Middle East said yesterday it was not the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority or its government-run peer Mubadala, which was set up to diversify the UAE’s economy. Heritage and the sovereign wealth funds declined to comment.

IAN HANNAM

JP MORGAN CAZENOVE

IAN Hannam, managing director at JP Morgan Cazenove and lead Heritage Oil & Gas adviser, is a well-known name on the London oil, gas and mining circuit.

He was involved in the 2001 merger and 2005 London listing of BHP Billiton, around which time he befriended its then-chief financial officer Mick Davis. When Davis became the boss of Xstrata, a JPM Caz team led by Hannam moved too, later steering the miner’s £8.4bn acquisition of Canadian peer Falconbridge in 2006.

Hannam is also advising Nat Rothschild’s Vallar mining venture, which is due to seal its first purchases in April but it is relationship with Davis that he is best known for.

Hannam started his career as a chartered engineer at Taylor Woodrow before switching to investment banking.

His reputation in the City as a candid negotiator might stem from his military past – he is a former member of the Territorial Army’s answer to the SAS.

His other clients include Fresnillo, SAB Miller and Devro.

JP Morgan Cazenove has advised Heritage since it floated in 2008. Also involved at the bank is Barry Weir, the M&A veteran currently working on Topaz’s £1bn London float.