Mystery Rocksource bid falters

Shares in Norwegian explorer Rocksource have plunged after a mooted deal from a mystery suitor to take a 30% stake fell through.

Earlier this week an unnamed “financial investor” was behind a bid of Nkr6 ($1) per share for around 29.5 million shares.

The bid, which implied a market valuation of the minnow of about Nkr590 milion, was filed with Arctic Securities in the form of an all-or-nothing purchase order that was set to expire on 20 August.

On Wednesday, however, Rocksource said the so-called “fill or kill” share purchase order had come to nothing.

“Accordingly, as the number of shares for which sales orders has been received is lower than the purchase order, the order will not be completed and all shares for which sales orders have been received will be released without further compensation to the shareholder,” the Oslo-listed player said in a brief statement.

Shares plummeted around 14% at 10am local time on Wednesday.

The company is currently majority owned by Larsen Oil & Gas, backed by Norwegian investor Berge Gerdt Larsen, with a shareholding of 28.33%.

Rocksource, which recently relocated its headquarters to Bergen from Oslo, launched a strategic review process last year to look at options such as possible asset sales and has been touted as a takeover target by analysts.

It earlier underwent a financial restructuring following a run of costly exploration well failures but recently struck it lucky with the drillbit as a partner in the milestone Pil discovery in the Norwegian Sea, operated by VNG.

However, questions have been raised by analysts over the cash-strapped company’s ability to fund further work at Pil as well as its upcoming exploration programme.

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