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   Repsol Chairman Says Takeover Bid Motivated by Growth Targets
 
Repsol Bids $13.4 Billion for Argentina Oil Giant YPF
Associated Press
NEW YORK — Spanish industrial company Repsol SA on Thursday offered up to $13.4 billion in cash for the shares of Argentina oil giant YPF SA it doesn't already own.

The bid values the Buenos Aires-based YPF at $44.78 a share and is roughly a 25 percent premium over what YPF closed at Thursday on the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange, Repsol said in a statement.

The cash tender offer, if successful, would bring together two former state oil companies and create a Latin American rival to the state oil companies of Venezuela and Brazil.

Repsol already owns 15 percent of YPF. The offer expires June 23, and will be conditioned on, among other things, Repsol's acquisition of more than 50 percent of YPF's capital, the statement said.

It would also be the latest merger in the rapidly consolidating oil industry. Last December, Exxon and Mobil agreed to merge in a deal now worth nearly $88 billion that will create the world's largest oil company. Earlier this year, BP Amoco announced it planned to acquire Atlantic Richfield Co. in a deal now valued at nearly $30 billion.

Repsol, which has refining operations in four countries and nearly 1 billion barrels in oil and gas reserves, primarily in North Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. It earned $1.9 billion on revenue of $22.2 billion in 1998.

YPF owns and operates three refineries and owns 2,253 service stations in Argentina; it has more than 3 billion barrels in oil and gas reserves. It earned $1.1 billion on revenue of $5.5 billion in 1998.

American depositary receipts of YPF rose $1.75 to $35.93 3/4 in trading Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange, while Repsol ADR's fell 12 1/2 cents to $15.56 1/4.

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