Now the buzz is that Pickens will go after Vintage Petroleum (VPI
), of which BP Energy already owns more than 9%. It paid 14.66 on average for its shares, which now trade at 10. And BP Energy Managing Director Bob Stillwell confirmed that BP is, indeed, considering a bid for Vintage, which he says is undervalued and ripe for a buyout. He declined to discuss the timing or price. Vintage didn't return calls.
Initial interest in Vintage was revealed on May 15 in a 13D filing by BP Energy, in which BP proposed a restructuring of Vintage to pay off its $1 billion debt. Pickens would sell Vintage's entire U.S. assets and part of its Canadian reserves to come up with $800 million. Instead of heeding Pickens, Vintage declared war by dropping--from 15% to 10%--the amount of stock an outsider might own without activating an antitakeover "poison pill." And in mid-June, Vintage said it had sold reserves in Trinidad but was keeping U.S. assets. Vintage earned $2.09 a share in 2001, on sales of $909 million. By Gene G. Marcial