BP boss in Abu Dhabi to avoid takeovers

BP boss Tony Hayward met with an Abu Dhabi state investment fund on Wednesday.

BP boss in Abu Dhabi to avoid takeovers

BP boss Tony Hayward met with an Abu Dhabi state investment fund on Wednesday, part of a quest for cash to ward off takeovers and help pay for the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

The action on Thursday was set to move back to the courts with the oil drilling industry going head-to-head with the Obama administration over the White House effort to suspend deepwater oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico for six months in the wake of the catastrophic well blowout.

Hayward, BP's chief executive, was seen by Reuters with a senior official from another Abu Dhabi fund, and a report said Saudi investors were looking to buy 10 percent to 15 percent of the British oil company.

A United Arab Emirates official said Hayward's visit with the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) was a routine one. An ADIA spokesman declined comment.

"We are here to talk to our existing shareholders," a cheerful-looking Hayward told Reuters in the ornate, marble lobby of an Abu Dhabi office building before heading into a meeting, along with his six-man entourage.

But bankers say BP is on a marketing drive for its stock, whose price has fallen by half since its well blew out in April, spewing crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico and soiling the shores of every U.S. Gulf Coast state.

BP executives have held talks with sovereign wealth funds in Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Qatar and Singapore, seeking a partner that might help it avoid being taken over, a UAE source said.

Abu Dhabi's International Petroleum Investment Company, was not interested in buying a BP stake, a company source said.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that BP plans to push back against a request from the U.S. government for advance notice of any asset sales or other large transactions in the wake of the spill.

Asset sales could be used to help cover spill costs.

The report, in the paper's online edition, cited a person with knowledge of BP's thinking as saying the company would examine how to address concerns "without having to give advance notice of market-sensitive information and transactions."

The U.S. Justice Department had requested that all the companies involved in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, including BP, advise the department about its plans for transactions such as asset sales, divestments or other major financial dealings.

A BP spokesman would only confirm that the company had received the request and that it had not yet responded.


Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 08 Temmuz 2010, 15:14

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