It was a move that might have been applauded as courageous if the bid had succeeded. As it is, it looks extravagant and reckless. Enterprise is now lumbered with a useless stake in Lasmo, one already in the books for a pounds 32m loss.
The purchase was even more ill- considered because it infuriated Lasmo shareholders who would like to have sold for cash but were not approached. It may even have persuaded some waverers to reject the bid.
As Enterprise's broking advisers, Warburg Securities and James Capel were responsible for gauging market sentiment and advising on whether to proceed with the cash purchase. Either they catastophically misjudged the market mood, or they were overruled by a gung-ho Mr Hearne. Someone must be deeply embarrassed this weekend.
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