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Shell Declines Comment On Total Takeover ‘Rumors’

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Shell Declines Comment On Total Takeover ‘Rumors’

“market speculation French competitor Total SA could be preparing to make a bid for the company”

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

August 16, 2004 3:49 a.m.

AMSTERDAM — Anglo-Dutch oil giant Royal Dutch/Shell Group (RD,SC) Monday declined to comment on market speculation French competitor Total SA (TOT) could be preparing to make a bid for the company.

“We won’t comment on rumors,” Shell spokesman Andy Corrigan said.

Representatives of Total earlier also declined to comment.

U.K.-based newspaper The Observer reported Sunday that Shell is preparing for a bid by Total, quoting internal Shell sources.

Analysts have reacted with skepticism to the speculation, arguing a deal would face massive regulatory hurdles that would probably be too substantial to overcome.

At 0734 GMT, Shell shares were up 0.3%, or EUR0.11, at EUR40.28, in Amsterdam. The Amsterdam benchmark-25 AEX index, meanwhile, was down 1%.

-By A.J. Hesselink and Anton Reijinga, Dow Jones Newswires; 31 20 6260770; [email protected]

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