UPDATE 7-Repsol to buy Talisman Energy for hefty premium
* Repsol to buy Canada's 5th largest oil producer
* Repsol offers 56 pct premium to Talisman market value
* Talisman board recommends shareholders accept offer (Recasts, adds Talisman CEO comments, updates share price)
By Julien Toyer and Jose Elías Rodríguez
MADRID, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Spain's Repsol has agreed to buy Talisman Energy, Canada's fifth-largest independent oil producer, for $8.3 billion as the drop in oil prices pushes energy companies to take the plunge on big M&A deals.
Repsol will also take on $4.7 billion of Talisman's debt.
A near halving in the oil price since June has lowered price tags on producers such as Talisman, spurring renewed interest from Repsol, which had long been searching for oil and gas assets in North America and elsewhere.
But analysts said the Spanish company had paid a hefty price for the embattled Canadian company and in the long term it could have to consider a sale of its 30 percent stake in Gas Natural , a move Repsol said was not in the works.
"We don't need to sell our stake in GasNat (Gas Natural) to do this deal. For us GasNat brings stability, dividends, optionality," Repsol Chairman Antonio Brufau told analysts. Continued...