Anderson Exploration in $4.6 billion US takeover deal with Devon

Shares of Anderson Exploration (TSE:AXL)(NYSE:AXN)gushed on Tuesday after Devon Energy rolled out a $4.6 billion US takeover bid for the Calgary company.

Anderson's stock shot up move than 50 per cent adding $13.21 to close at $39.61 on the TSE. More than 78 million shares changed hands, making it by far the most actively-traded issue on the TSE.

The TSE's oil and gas sub-index rose almost 6 per cent, as other energy companies also rose on news of the takeover.

The deal, which was announced Tuesday morning, will see Oklahoma-based Devon pay $40 cash for each Anderson share, and assume $1.2 billion US of Anderson's debt.

"Expanding our presence in Canada has been an important objective for Devon," Larry Nichols, Devon's chairman, president and CEO, said in a statement.

"Anderson was at the top of our list of acquisition opportunities," Nichols said.

Devon will pick up 532 million barrels of oil equivalent and 3.8 million undeveloped hectares. The deal will see Devon's proved reserves increase by 35 per cent to roughly two billion barrels of oil equivalent. Liquids production would be roughly 180 thousands barrels per day.

Anderson Exploration is Canada's sixth biggest oil producer.

The merged company's North American gas production would increase to 2.2 billion cubic feet per day from 1.6 billion feet per day.

Anderson's operations will be merged with Devon's Canadian operations, which are headquartered in Calgary.

"Our goal has always been to provide the best possible return for our shareholders," J. C. Anderson, the chairman and CEO of Anderson, said.

"Devon's offer reflects the quality of Anderson's people and our outstanding exploration potential. Over the past two years, Anderson has been the most active exploratory driller in Canada. I believe the organization we have created will be in very good hands with Devon," Anderson said.

Devon is angling to make itself into North America's largest independent oil and natural gas company. In mid-August, Devon bid $3.5 billion US to acquire Mitchell Energy & Development Corp.

Both deals are expected to close in Devon's fourth quarter.