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World's Largest Copper Producer Moves Back into Oil with $9 Billion Takeover

By Joao Peixe | Wed, 05 December 2012 22:30 | 0

The world’s largest publically traded copper producer, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., has announced a $9 billion agreement to buy the oil company Plains Exploration & Production Co., and McMoRan Exploration Co.

Freeport has agreed to pay around $50 per Plains share, in the form of cash and stock; a premium of 39% based on the companies closing share price on Tuesday.

In September Plains bought $6.1 billion worth of assets in the Gulf of Mexico from BP and Royal Dutch Shell; Freeport will receive all of this in the deal.

Freeport will receive $9.5 billion from JPMorgan Chase & Co in order to finance the cash part of the deal and pay all outstanding debts owned by Plains.

Related Article: Bad Times for BP Amid Rumors of Acquisition or Split

Kuni Chen, an analyst at CRT Capital Group LLC, has mentioned that some investors could have reservations about the takeover because, as he explains it, “clearly the synergies between putting a mining company and an oil exploration and production company together remain to be seen.”

Synergy between the companies should not be too challenging considering the close connections that they all already have. Freeport and McMoRan already share six board members including the cofounders of McMoRan, CEO Jim Bob Moffett, and Vice-Chairman B.M. Rankin. James Flores, CEO or Plains, also sits on the board at McMoRan, and Plains owns 31.5% of McMoRan.

By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com

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