Shares of U.S. oil and gas company Anadarko Petroleum Corp. jumped above highs reached days before BP's Gulf of Mexico Oil spill, rising more than 8 percent Thursday on market talk that a bid from BHP Billiton Ltd. was in the works.
Rumors resurfaced that BHP Billiton is lining up an offer for the company. The Daily Mail reported that Billiton may offer $90 per share. The British newspaper didn’t cite its sources.
A spokesman for Anadarko said it was company policy not to comment on speculation.
"It's not new but for whatever reason it's finding traction again this morning," said Peter Kenny, managing director at Knight Equity Markets in Jersey City, New Jersey.
One analyst said Anadarko, which has a huge portfolio of deepwater oil and gas discoveries, would be a good takeover candidate.
"They have a lot of good assets around the world, they would be a good buy for someone," Mike Breard, an oil analyst with Hodges Capital Management in Dallas, said, adding that Anadarko's future liability for the Gulf oil spill was still a big unknown.
Anadarko owns 25 percent of the ruptured Macondo well that BP operated. The U.S. oil and gas company has pinned blame for the accident on BP.
Shares of Houston-based Anadarko rose to a session high of $76.50, eclipsing a high of $74.74 reached on April 20, five days before the rig explosion and oil spill that spewed more than 4 million barrels of crude into the Gulf.
The stock later pared some gains, but was still up 5.8 percent at $74.86 in late morning trade on the New York Stock Exchange.
After the spill, shares of Anadarko slid to a low of $34.54 as investors worried over the company's liability in the disaster that left 11 workers dead and caused the worst U.S. offshore oil spill.
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