You know someone is losing (a lot of) money when the heavy artillery of the rumormill department goes into overdrive. According to the Sunday Times, the Obama administration has given its blessing to Exxon and Chevron to consider takeover bids of the troubled major unimpeded. Because obviously any deal in the current environment must first and foremost get the Obama stamp of approval or else the Steve Rattners of the world will be sic-ed on your sorry derriere, and before you know it your equity will be trading above your vendor payables in right of guarantee. It is refreshing to know that the other majors can somehow handicap the outcome of the tens if not hundreds of billions in liabilities that will tie down BP in random lawsuits for decades, and that will make WR Grace et al seem like a PG-13 dress rehearsal for Scores when Lindsay Lohan is in town.
U.S. oil major Exxon has sought clearance from Washington DC to examine a takeover bid for BP PLC (BP.LN), according to the Sunday Times.
According to oil industry sources, the Obama administration had told Exxon and one other U.S. oil company, thought to be Chevron, that it would not stand in the way of a deal that could value BP at up to GBP100 billion, the newspaper said.
The sources said there was no certainty that Exxon would make a move, but said talks with Washington indicated a renewed interest as BP came closer to plugging their oil well in the Gulf of Mexico.
"There have been talks at a high level, and Exxon has expressed a serious interest. It is too early to talk about a bid yet, but they are clearing the way," a senior oil industry source told the newspaper.
A spokesman for Exxon declined to comment, the paper said.