NEW YORK – Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) on Monday dismissed a bid to acquire it for $450 billion by a little-known Chinese concern with an apparent history of making unsolicited offers for large companies.
King Win Laurel Ltd. (search) filed papers Monday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission offering to buy the world's largest publicly traded oil company for U.S. dollars plus Chinese yuan worth a total of $70 per share.
The company said the offer was subject to financing and carried certain incentives for shareholders should the price of oil rise further.
Exxon (search) did not put much weight behind the offer.
"We are not aware of any communication from King Win Laurel Limited that has been delivered to the corporation. We do not believe that King Win Laurel Limited is financially capable of making such a tender offer," Exxon spokesman Dave Gardner (search) said in a statement.
King Win said it was incorporated in New Zealand on October 21 for the sole purpose of buying Exxon. Multiple calls to the Beijing number for King Win listed in the SEC documents led to either a busy signal or prolonged ringing with no answer.
An SEC spokesman said King Win would have needed to submit paperwork to get access to the commission's electronic filing system and a sworn statement verifying its identity.
"Any person who meets requirements and certifies that they are who they say they are can file," spokesman John Heine said. "Of course there are all sorts of possible consequences if someone is abusing the system."
Analysts laughed — literally — at the notion of the offer, but at the same time declined to completely dismiss it, as entirely unlikely as it seemed.
"It's difficult to measure this offer as little is known about how the bidder would finance the transaction," BOSC Inc. debt analyst Jon Cartwright said. "While our initial feeling is to ignore the offer, it is academically possible that the bidder could receive funding, making this offer real."
Last year, a King Win Laurel International Ltd. launched an unsolicited offer to acquire Telstra, Australia's largest phone company, a bid that was dismissed as a hoax.
King Win Laurel International also launched a bid in 2004 for Restaurant Brands, which was dismissed by New Zealand regulators.
"We understand that King Win Laurel Limited has previously made offers on other companies that did not go forward," Exxon said.
Shares in Exxon were up 3 cents at $56.34 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.