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NZOG duelling bidders seek directorships

NZOG board refrains from recommendations as duelling bidders seek directorships

By Paul McBeth

Sept. 29 (BusinessDesk) - the board of New Zealand Oil & Gas has refrained from making a recommendation to shareholders at the upcoming annual meeting where rival suitors are seeking directorships.

Zeta Resources-aligned Duncan Saville, who's been a director of NZOG since 2014, is up for re-election at the Oct. 30 meeting, however shareholders will also decide on whether to elect OG Oil & Gas boss Alistair McGregor, whose interests lobbed in a rival bid to Zeta's partial takeover proposal. Independent director Mark Tume chose not to seek re-election and will retire at the meeting ending a five-year stint on the board.

The board hasn't made a recommendation to shareholders, and chair Rodger Finlay will make a decision on how the cast proxy votes once it's known whether OGOG will make a formal offer, an NZOG spokesman said in an emailed statement.

Zeta is seeking 42 percent of NZOG's fully and partly paid shares it doesn't already own, subject to scaling, lobbing in an offer of 72 cents per share. It pitched it bid with the lure of a $50 million capital return to shareholders, however NZOG's independent directors spurned the bid saying it undervalues the company. OGOG has thrown in a counter-offer of 77 cents a share for a maximum 70 percent stake in the Wellington-based company, which it says is the only way to preserve the opportunities in front of it.

NZOG's shares last traded at 74 cents and have climbed 17 percent so far this year.

Zeta has extended its offer closing date to Oct. 18, while OGOG has yet to formally lodge an offer document, which would then require a response from NZOG. The New Zealand company's independent directors have recommended shareholders wait until they get further guidance on the OGOG offer while noting it appeared superior to the Zeta bid.


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