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More Hurdels Await Chevron Inches After Hess Shareholder Approval


These translations are done via Google Translate

Approval from Hess shareholders was a win, but more hurdles await.

Chevron Corp.’s takeover plan took a step forward as Hess Corp. shareholders supported the $53 billion deal.
Chevron Corp.’s takeover plan took a step forward as Hess Corp. shareholders supported the $53 billion deal.
 

Chevron Corp. cleared the first major hurdle toward closing its $53 billion acquisition of Hess Corp. — and securing a share in one of the world’s most promising oil fields. The chief executive officers of the two companies may want to keep their celebrations in check, though.

Tuesday’s vote of approval by investors holding a majority of Hess shares was a much-needed win for Chevron’s Mike Wirth and counterpart John Hess more than seven months after the takeover was announced.

Despite Hess and his family controlling about 10% of the stock, the outcome wasn’t guaranteed. Several major shareholders said the vote should be delayed because of a dispute with Exxon Mobil Corp. over Hess’ key asset — its 30% stake in Guyana’s 11 billion-barrel oil field.

John Hess found himself personally calling leading investors to rally support for the deal in the days before the meeting.

At least three more obstacles await.

Chevron CEO Mike Wirth And Hess CEO John Hess Interview
John Hess and Mike Wirth during a Bloomberg Television interview in October.Photographer: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg

First, the acquisition must be approved by the Federal Trade Commission, which is taking a more active interest in corporate mergers under Chair Lina Khan.

Earlier this month, the agency waved through Exxon’s $60 billion purchase of Pioneer Natural Resources Co. — but only after issuing a remarkable consent decree that accused Pioneer founder Scott Sheffield of colluding with OPEC and barred him from a seat on the Texas oil giant’s board.

Sheffield denounced the claims Tuesday and is asking they be withdrawn.

Second, Chevron must resolve its dispute with Exxon, which operates the Guyana asset and claims to have a right of first refusal over Hess’ stake. Chevron is confident in its position, calling the matter “straightforward” in a statement yesterday.

But Guyana is as much a game changer for Exxon as it would be for Chevron, and the former has shown no signs of backing down. CEO Darren Woods has warned that the arbitration case it filed may run into next year.

Third, Chevron will need to make sure Guyana’s government is comfortable with its entry into a sector that dominates the country’s economy.

For Wirth and Hess, the legacy-making deal is moving closer. But there’s still a long road ahead.

–Kevin Crowley, Bloomberg News



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