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China firm in $450 bln Exxon bid run from small flat

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Quigley_Sharps, Nov 1, 2005.

  1. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    BEIJING (Reuters) - The firm behind a $450 billion (254 billion pounds) bid for the world's top oil company is run from an $150-a-month apartment in the outskirts of the Chinese capital.

    No one answered the door at the listed address of King Win Laurel Ltd., a company that filed papers with U.S. regulators on Monday to buy Exxon Mobil Corp. at a 25 percent premium to its current value.

    A neighbour across the corridor from the 14th-floor flat could not imagine that the young man who lived there operated an investment firm capable of bringing off the world's largest takeover ever.

    "A company? That would be impossible," said the neighbour, a woman named Zhu. She reckoned the rent was 1,200 yuan a month for apartments in the 20-storey building in the Tong Zhou district around 50 km (30 miles) from Beijing's centre.

    "He seems to be an employed man in his mid 20s, tall and slim," she said. "He comes home very late at night."

    King Win gave the Beijing address in its U.S. regulatory filing and listed a director, Xiufeng Zhang, as contact person.

    Exxon dismissed the bid from King Win, a company incorporated in New Zealand with an apparent history of making unsolicited offers for large companies.

    Last year, a firm called King Win Laurel International Ltd. launched an offer to buy Australia's largest phone company, Telstra Corp. Ltd. -- a bid that was dismissed as a hoax. The same name, Xiufeng Zhang, popped up in media reports about that bid.

    "We do not believe that King Win Laurel Limited is financially capable of making such a tender offer," Exxon spokesman Dave Gardner said in a statement on Monday.

    Analysts laughed, literally, at the notion of the offer.

    "While our initial feeling is to ignore the offer, it is academically possible that the bidder could receive funding," BOSC Inc. debt analyst Jon Cartwright said.

    With a $355 billion market value, Exxon is the world's second-most valuable company behind General Electric Co.. It reported nearly $300 billion in revenue last year -- three times the size of New Zealand's economy -- and racked up a $9.9 billion profit in its latest quarter.

    King Win's bid at $70 a share didn't do much for Exxon's stock price: Shares fell 17 cents to $56.14 on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday.

    "It is Halloween today," said Robert Lutts, president of fund firm Cabot Money Management. "The Chinese do need oil, but I don't think they're going to get it that way."
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