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Most recent report is shown at foot of Shell/Total merger news stories

30 July 2004, 2004

Financial Times: Setting the scene: "Shell expects hostile takeover bids from BP and ExxonMobil within the next few months. These bids will be followed by a successful 'white knight' bid from Total”

Financial Times: Shell fighter begins the big clean-up: “it could itself become a bid target”; “if you get it hopelessly wrong, then people start sniffing around.": "In answer to a question about whether they are sniffing now, he said: "You will have to ask the sniffers" (Comment by Shell Group Chairman, Jeroem van der Veer)

Sunday 15 August, 2004

The Observer: Ailing Shell braced for French bid: Oil giant 'could merge with rival Total': “the possibility of a deal is now the subject of fevered speculation in the City.”

BBC News: Shell 'could be target for Total'

SKYNEWS: SHELL FACES TAKEOVER BID: “insiders claiming French oil company Total is planning a raid.”

Bloomberg: Total Says Royal Dutch/Shell Takeover Reports Are `Speculation': Royal Dutch/Shell executives are concerned that the company is vulnerable to a takeover bid”

The Scotsman: Shell 'Braced for Takeover Bid from Oil Rival Total': “an inquiry found it violated reporting, record-keeping and anti-trust rules.” 

Monday 16 August, 2004

Channel News Asia: Shell fears swoop by French oil giant Total: report: “Shell has been shaken by a scandal involving the overestimation of its reserves of oil and gas.”

Reuters: Total declines comment on Shell report

Daily Mail: Shell fears Total takeover attack: "group's tardy disclosure that oil reserves have been inflated."


London Evening Standard: “Reports at the weekend claimed that Total was keen to take advantage of the lack of confidence in Shell's management” BA, ICI higher on oil price ease, Shell up on M&A hope

Reuters: Shell drags FTSE higher as bid talk swirls

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Shell Declines Comment On Total Takeover "Rumors”: “market speculation French competitor Total SA could be preparing to make a bid for the company”

Expatica: Shell, Total tight-lipped over merger rumour

Financial Times: Bourses edge ahead as oil prices recede: “talk of a bid from Total of France for the ailing oil giant Royal Dutch/Shell, could add another dimension to the oil sector”

Financial Times: Bid speculation pushes London higher: “Shell was up 2.2 per cent at 399¼p on reports that Total could launch a bid for the Anglo-Dutch oil company”

Daily Express: Shell faces takeover challenge from Total: “THE turmoil at Shell has triggered speculation that it could be vulnerable to a takeover or merger”

CNN: Eurostocks snap back as Shell rises: “oil stocks rose on talk of a takeover of Shell”

London Evening Standard: Market report: Monday close: CITY traders were doing their level best to play down talk of a £40bn-plus bid for oil giant Shell

London Evening Standard: Shell in the bid spotlight as oil price keeps climbing: “reports suggested top brass at scandal-struck Shell think a bid may be on its way from France's Total.”

Tuesday 17 August, 2004

The Scotsman: Total bid for Shell is oil to the City gossip mill: “Desmarest could make an audacious swoop for the Royal Dutch half alone - which itself is smaller than Total - and, therefore, would have voting control over the entire group.”

ChannelNewsAsia: Total takeover of Shell? Analysts aren't buying it:  "A hostile takeover leaves the door open to a hostile counter takeover, and at that point, Royal Dutch is better placed financially to bid for Total than Total for Royal Dutch."

Financial Times: European Comment: Not all that far-fetched: “Total's cautious boss Thierry Desmarest has shown he can pull off big takeovers, with Elf and Petrofina. He has plenty of cash and more to come”

The Independent: Shell takeover speculation dismissed

Daily Telegraph: Market report: “speculation that French rival Total SA may be mulling a bid for the Anglo-Dutch oil giant”

The Times: Need to Know: Global Business Briefing: “analysts dismissing weekend reports that Total, its French rival, could launch a takeover bid”

Wednesday 18 August, 2004

Business Report: 'Shell might just be too big for Total to swallow': “In Paris and London, oil analysts deemed a hostile takeover bid possible but…” Shell: Total speculation

Thursday 19 August 2004

The Guardian: City awaits hard sell from Sorrell: “Shell gained 8.75p to 399.25p, excited by rumours of predatory interest from rival Total.”

Wednesday 8 September 2004

ChannelNewsAsia: Total dismisses idea of takeover bid for Royal Dutch/Shell: “Total dismissed prospects for a takeover bid aimed at Anglo-Dutch rival Royal Dutch/Shell, which is struggling to recover from a reserves scandal, signalling that such a move would prove too complex.”

Thursday 9 September 2004

Financial Times: Total chief quashes Shell speculation: "Thierry Desmarest, chief executive of Total, the French oil group, yesterday poured cold water on speculation he was interested in bidding for Anglo-Dutch rival Shell.”

Financial Post – Canada: Not interested in Shell bid, Total CEO says

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Total Chairman: Pricey Oil Rivals Not A Good Buy Bargain: "I won't even mention Shell," Desmarest said at a strategy briefing.: "Total was not at the origin of the merger (speculation)," he said.

Sunday 12 September, 2004

The Business: Total feels no need to deal: “tipped to merge Royal Dutch/Shell out of its misery.”: “But since merger heat began to build around the company, Total's executives have worked hard to dampen it.”

Tuesday 14 September, 2004

Oil & Gas Journal: Total denies rumors of courtship with Shell, ConocoPhillips

Wednesday 15 September, 2004

Financial Times: Straight-talker ready to take risks: “It was a move so daring that five years later Mr Desmarest was seen - until last week when he ruled it out - as one of the only men capable of considering a bid for Royal/Dutch Shell, Total's far bigger, yet distressed, rival.”

Home of F1 News: Ferrari could lose Shell: “It's also suggested that oil company 'Total' CEO Thierry Desmarest may be looking to buy the 'Royal Dutch/Shell' Group.”

Thursday 23 September, 2004

Daily Telegraph: We'll be running to stand still until 2009, says Shell: “…Mr Van der Veer was dismissive of suggestions it might merge with French giant Total. He said: "The fact that [that story] can get legs shows that our reputation is not where we want it to be.": “Shell was embarrassed about selling a field in North India to oil minnow Cairn Energy for a few million dollars which later yielded hundreds of millions of barrels of oil, he said.”

Friday 24 September, 2004

Financial Times: Observer: Shell-shocked: The chairman of the Anglo-Dutch oil giant told yesterday's strategy meeting that things had got so bad that even those French upstarts at Total had been rumoured to be considering a bid.

Financial Times: Total tiptoes to Russia: “Quite simply, Total was envisaging a bid for its larger but troubled oil rival Shell. Last week, Mr Desmarest poured cold water on the idea, stating he was not interested in big acquisitions.”: “To qualify for membership of the club of super oil majors, an American dimension is even more necessary than a Russian one. There is an easy way to achieve this: merging with a debilitated Shell before it recovers or is taken over by another rival.”

DAILY MAIL (UK): CITY & FINANCE: Total takeover gossip pumps up Shell price: ALMOST 100m shares in oil giant Shell were traded as a slick takeover rumour made dealers sit up and take notice. The close was 10%p higher at a year's peak of 456p amid growing speculation that Total of France, the world's fourth largest oil and gas company, is lining up a cash offer.”: “It is not the first time that Shell and Total have been mentioned in the same breath, but informed sources yesterday suggested that something really could be afoot this time…” Posted 23 Jan 05

THE SUNDAY TIMES (UK): Focus: On top of the world: “Shell faces questions as to whether it can survive at its current size. It was forced to cut about one-third of its proven oil reserves last year and is expected to announce further cuts when it releases its annual results next month. Like BP in the early 1990s, Shell must find huge new reserves if it is to survive. These difficulties have led many to speculate whether Shell is ripe for a takeover, but BP and Total, the French oil giant, are unlikely to move on their rival unless invited to do so by the board of Shell itself.” ( 23 Jan 05

The Independent (UK): Outlook: Surely not, Shell: “…one of the more fiendish rumours to have been circulating in the markets of late is that Royal Dutch/Shell and Total of France are contemplating a giant oil merger.”: “A combination of Total and Shell would be in a different league again, creating a business worth pounds 180bn and unseating Exxon-Mobil as the world's biggest oil company.”: “Shell is braced for seismic change enough as it gets ready to ditch 100 years of tradition along with its dual board and twin-listing and embrace the Anglo-Saxon model. Could it really handle an infusion of Gallic blood so soon after?”: “…don't underestimate French ambition…” ( Friday 28 Jan 05

The Sunday Observer (UK): Shock, stock and a few smoking barrels: “Shell has been in the doghouse in much the same way as BP was.”: “Shell should not eschew the possibility of a tie-up with Total.” ( 30 Jan 05

THE BUSINESS (EU): Shell rethink expected to boost shares: “…a cold snap in the US and uncertainty in Iraq have conspired to keep the price of a barrel of oil around the $50 level and provided support for Shell. Old takeover stories have also been regurgitated with perennial favourite Total of France mooted to be considering a cash offer.” ( 30/31 Jan 05

FINANCIAL TIMES: Total chief rules out a 'transforming merger': “Total was rumoured last year to be considering a takeover bid for Shell, its bigger Anglo-Dutch rival, which was hit by an accounting scandal.” ( 18 Feb 05

The Observer (UK): Oil giants go on the prowl: “And if Shell thought it was safe, it ought to remind itself that TotalFinaElf, the French colossus, might dust off its takeover plans ... and so on.” ( 10 April 05

Financial Times: Total frustration: “A few weeks earlier, Total boss Thierry Desmarest scotched speculation he was interested in bidding for Anglo-Dutch rival Shell.” ( 5 May 05

Financial Times: Shell's rush for Russia dampens stock debut: “Investors yesterday were queueing to buy shares in Russian gas company Novatek and to dump the new unified Royal Dutch Shell on their London market debuts.”: “The reason behind this odd reversal of roles is that Shell must still convince the markets it can resolve its reserve problems, along with the $10bn additional hit it is taking on its flagship Russian gas project.”: “If these difficulties persist, they are likely to revive talk of a Total-Shell mega-merger as the best way forward.”: Thursday 21 July 2005: Read the article ANOTHER BAD NEWS DAY FOR SHELL: LONDON TIMES ARTICLE IMPLIES THAT SHELL ISSUED A FALSE PROSPECTIVE FOR ITS MERGER: THE INDEPENDENT SAYS THAT SHELL IS “RUDDERLESS”: FT CLAIMS THAT INVESTORS DUMPED THE NEW UNIFIED SHELL SHARES ON THEIR DEBUT DAY AND REVIVES DESIRABLE PROSPECT OF TOTAL/SHELL MEGA-MERGER: 9am: Thursday 21 July 2005: Read the article

Financial Times: Merger talk puts Shell in focus: “Rumours that Shell was planning an approach for North America's largest natural gas producer grew after Encana shares rose nearly 10 per cent in Toronto on Wednesday amid reports that Shell had sent a large team to carry out due diligence in Canada.”: “But sceptics maintained that Shell, also linked to a merger with France's Total this week, was not in the market for such a large deal.”: Friday 21 October 2005: READ

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