Lasmo, of course, has little case for independence after the disasters of recent years. It has been a walking accident, gobbling up shareholders' money with an appetite worthy of an intergalactic black hole.
Nevertheless, it has managed to be highly effective in rubbishing Enterprise's bid. 'We may be a dreadful company - though things are on the change - but this bid is equally dreadful and incomprehensible,' seems to be the general line.
The bid highlights Enterprise's weaknesses as much as Lasmo's, advisers insist. Big is not necessarily beautiful in the oil industry, and anyway this is a curiously timed bid, coming after Lasmo has successfully managed to shore up its finances with an underwritten pounds 219m rights issue. Surely the time to have made a bid was six months ago when the shares and Lasmo were still flat on their back. Does this not show a lack of judgement by Graham Hearne, Enterprise's chief executive?
The structure of the offer, too, with its new low-yielding shares, would seem to show a certain lack of self-confidence, Lasmo claims.
It has got a point. Mr Hearne was no doubt right to delay bidding until he was certain what he was bidding for, but he will have to move rapidly to regain the initiative. His case, in truth, is a compelling and highly persuasive one; right now, however, he is in danger of losing the public relations battle.Reuse content