American depository shares of Woodside Petroleum Ltd (WOPEY) slid Tuesday after Royal Dutch Shell (RDS-A) late yesterday announced plans to sell most of its $5.7 billion stake in the Australian oil and gas company.
WOPEY ADS were off 3.2% at $39.06 apiece in late afternoon trade, earlier dropping to a session low of $38.90 a share. The stock has a 52-week range of $31.18 to $40.37 a share, climbing slightly more than 23% over the past 12 months.
RDS-A is planning to divest 73.8 million WOPEY shares, equal to a 9.5% stake, in a private placement with institutional investors priced at A$41.35 ($38.59) per share, a 3.5% discount to Monday’s closing price for the stock at home. WOPEY also is buying back another 73.8 million shares at A$36.49 ($34.05) per share, a 15% discount to Monday’s close.
The stock buyback will require WOPEY shareholder approval.
Once complete, the two-tiered transaction will reduce RDS-A’s ownership interest under 5% from its current 23.1%. RDS-A has owned a large minority stake in WOPEY since 2001 when Australian lawmakers thwarted a takeover bid of the country’s second largest energy company. It has been slowly paring that stake since that time.
RDS-A shares recently were down 0.6% at $80.28 each.
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