Harbour Energy in merger talks with Talos - report
Harbour Energy, the UK’s largest North Sea oil and gas producer, is in merger talks with US rival Talos Energy, it emerged on Wednesday.
According to Reuters, Harbour and Talos - which operates in the Gulf of Mexico - have been holding on-off talks for around six months, but negotiations have ramped up in recent weeks.
Citing one unnamed person familiar with the matter, Reuters said a deal would give Harbour the opportunity to list in New York. Harbour is looking to diversify overseas and scale back its UK investments, after the government imposed a windfall tax on British oil and gas producers. It launched a review of its operations in January, and in April told staff it expected to cut around 350 onshore jobs because of the levy.
Harbour has a market value of around £2bn, while Talos is valued at around $1.8bn. Terms have not been confirmed, however, and the sources told Reuters there was no certainty a deal would be reached.
Neither company has commented on the report.
New York-listed Talos closed 5% higher on Tuesday, and by 1100 BST on Wednesday, London-listed Harbour had put on 4% at 250p.
Should a deal go ahead, it would be the second announced this year by a North Sea operator, with AIM-listed rival Hurricane Energy currently in the process of being acquired by Prax Exploration & Production after accepting an offer worth up to £249m in March.