Total walks away from Wessex bid

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The Independent Online

France's Total has pulled out of a £70m takeover punt at Aim-listed oil prospector Wessex Exploration. The oil giant was looking to gain a greater share of a huge field off the coast of French Guyana, in which it already has a 25 per cent stake – less than rivals Shell and Tullow.

Wessex owns 1.25 per cent of the Zaedyus project, which could hold as much as one billion barrels of oil, as well as onshore licences closer to home in Hampshire. But Total has decided against pursuing Wessex, after the minnow's board found shareholders were against the 10p a share offer.

Wessex shares fell 1.25p to 7.75p yesterday. It holds its share in the French Guyana field through a joint venture with fellow Aim stock Northern Petroleum.