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Regal shares soar on Shell bid reports

Oil prices rebounded as investors anticipated the approval of the US bail-out package

Regal shares soared on reports of Shell’s takeover plans Photo: AP

Despite denials from Regal yesterday that it had received an approach, some shareholders are convinced that the company is in play.

Regal shares closed up 50pc at 125p on reports that Anglo-Dutch Shell was considering a bid that would value the company at about 300p a share. Regal’s key assets are in Ukraine, where Shell has said that it would like to expand.

Shell targeted Regal last year when it unsuccessfully tried to strike a joint venture agreement by paying £200m for half the Ukraine assets. “Shell is an excellent strategic fit, and I’m not surprised they are said to have returned to sound out Regal,” said one investor. “Everyone knows Regal is undervalued because of all the baggage it carries.”

Regal almost went bust in 2005, after raising money to fund a fruitless exploration project in Greece.

However, Regal said yesterday that reports Shell had made a proposal were untrue. Earlier in the week a director of Regal admitted that a number of parties were interested in the company, including an “Ivy League” player.

Another investor told The Daily Telegraph yesterday that “we are convinced” that Shell has made an approach.

“It’s all a bit of mystery. The watchwords are ‘be wary’.”

A Shell spokesman declined to comment.

Oil be back – crude prices rebound

Oil prices rebounded from steep declines on Thursday as investors correctly predicted the approval of the $700bn US bail-out package in the House of Representatives.

There was also more optimism on Wall Street as Wells Fargo stepped in to buy Wachovia for $15.1bn. Light, sweet crude for November delivery rose 72 to $94.69 a barrel in New York. In London, November Brent crude rose 49 cents to $91.05 a barrel, having earlier fallen below the psychological $90 mark.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/businesslatestnews/3131692/Regal-shares-soar-on-Shell-bid-reports.html

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