Bridge Energy, the Aberdeen-based oil and gas explorer, has agreed to a £103 million takeover approach less than a year after it listed on the stock market.
Norwegian rival Spike Exploration has offered 162p-a-share for Bridge, a premium of about 41 per cent on Friday’s closing price.
Shares in Bridge, which is also listed in Oslo, launched on Aim at 118.5p last September.
The takeover deal represents the latest in a string of M&A (mergber & acquisition) activity in the North Sea oil sector which has already seen Scottish firms including Deo Petroleum and Melrose Resources bought or merge since last year.
Bridge chief executive Tom Reynolds said the offer reflected “a fair valuation of our portfolio and a significant premium to the recent trading range”.
“It allows us to crystallise the value created within the company by the Bridge team during and prior to our time as a listed business and will return valuable cash to shareholders,” he added.
Reynolds said shareholders owning about 62 per cent of the company have already said they would accept Spike’s offer.
Bridge’s biggest shareholders include specialist energy investor Lime Rock Partners and a number of Norwegian institutions. The board also own just under 300,000 shares in the company.
Bridge, which was established in 2010 through the merger of Bridge Energy and Silverstone Energy, currently has four producing assets which contribute around 1,100 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd).
Production is projected to exceed 10,000 boepd within five years.
The company also has an active exploration programme which in the last quarter saw it drill four exploration wells, yielding three commercial oil discoveries.
The board of Bridge said to fully develop the company’s assets and unlock the value of its reserves and resources it was likely to need to raise further capital either from the equity markets or from industry partners.
Given that, Bridge had conducted an extensive strategic review process to determine how value might be best delivered for shareholders.
It said that given the findings of the review and the level of acceptances from investors, the board believed that the terms and conditions of the offer are “compelling” and unanimously recommends that shareholders accept it.”
Shares in Bridge closed up 28.3 per cent or 34.5p at 156.5p.
Although the deal would mean Scotland losing one of its Aim-listed companies, another North Sea oil and gas firm yesterday announced plans to float on the market.
Independent Oil & Gas (IOG) was set up in November 2010 from the combination of assets of Most Oil & Gas and Ebor Energy including interests in the Blythe gas field in the southern North Sea and a heavy oil discovery in the Skipper licence, south east of the Shetland Isles. In May 2013, IOG was awarded 100 per cent of the Skipper West licence.
No value has been placed on the planned flotation.
Bridge is the second Scottish Aim firm to attract takeover attention this month. Telecoms firm Coms abandoned a bid for Stirlingshire-based rival Pinnacle Technology after having a £6.7m approach rejected as bring